INDONESIA ( SERIES -13 )
THE ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS-1997 AND INDONESIA
The ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 1997 had direct consequences for the INDONESIAN economy , society and , of course , for SUHARTO’S Presidency . Simultaneously , INDONESIA suffered a severe draught and forest fire which burned the Jungle of KALIMANTAN and SUMATRA to a large scale . Moreover , the INDONESIAN currency , RUPIAH , took a sharp dive in value . The ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS began in July 1997 and gripped much of EAST ASIA and SOUTH-EAST ASIA . And it was feared of worldwide economic meltdown . The crisis started in THAILAND on 2nd July with the financial collapse of the THAI BAHT due to lack of foreign currency to support its currency PEG to the US DOLLAR . It also engulfed INDONESIA . As a result , SUHARTO came under scrutiny from international lending institutions like the WORLD BANK and IMF due to long time embezzlement of funds and some protectionist policies . SUHARTO’S government signed a letter of intent to the IMF in December 1997 pledging to enact austerity measures including removal of subsidies and cut on expenses on public services in return for aids from IMF and other donors . But the austerity measures approved by the SUHARTO’S government had started to erode domestic confidence with the Order of SUHARTO which led to massive popular protest in INDONESIA as such .
THE INDONESIAN 1998 REVOLUTION
Following the popular protest against his government , SUHARTO stood for re-election for the seventh times by the parliament in March 1998 . He justified his stand on the grounds that it would be necessary for him to stand with the country during such an hour of unprecedented economic crisis as such . The parliament approved for his new term as the president of INDONESIA for five years . But this sparked protests and riots throughout the country . It was termed by the historians as the INDONESIAN 1998 REVOLUTION . Increasing political unrest and violence undermined his previously firm political and military support , leading to his resignation on 21st May 1998 . The dissent within the rank of his own GOLKAR party and the military led SUHARTO to this stage about which he had never thought of in the past . He was replaced by his vice-president B.J. HABIBIE . He quickly assembled/formed a cabinet and his immediate task was how to re-establish IMF and other donor community support for an economic stabilization program . He quickly started releasing political prisoners . He lifted some controls on freedom of speech and association . Moreover , elections for the national , provincial , sub-provincial parliaments were held on 7th June 1999 . In the National Parliamentary Elections , INDONESIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY ( PDI-P LED BY MEGAWATI SUKARNOPUTRI ) got 34% of the vote , SUHARTO’S GOLKAR PARTY received 22% of the vote , the UNITED DEVELOPMENT PARTY (PPP) led by HAMZAH HAZ got 12% of the vote and the NATIONAL AWAKENING PARTY ( PKB ) led by ABDURRAHMAN WAHID got 10% of the vote .
INDONESIA SINCE 1999
The People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) , consisting of the 500 members of the Parliament and 200 appointed members , elected ABDURRAHMAN WAHID as President of INDONESIA in October 1999 . MEGAWATI SUKARNOPUTRI was appointed as the Vice-President . Both were appointed for five years term . President WAHID’S first cabinet came into existence in the early November 1999 . However , it was reshuffled in August 2000 . He worked hard for democratization and economic growth of the country under challenging conditions . In view of prevailing economic malaise , his government faced regional , inter-ethinic and inter-religious conflicts specially in ACEH , THE MALUKU ISLAND and IRIAN JAVA . Similarly in the WEST TIMOR , problems of displced EAST TIMORESE came on the surface . Moreover , the violence by PRO-INDONESIAN EAST TIMORESE militants caused considerable humanitarian and social problems . The INDONESIAN Parliament also frequently challenged President WAHID’S policies . In August 2000 , President WAHID presented an account of his government performance in the People’s Consultative Assembly on the first annual session . But on 29th January 2001 , thousands of student protesters gathered in the Parliament ground and demanded President WAHID resignation on the ground of his alleged involvement in the corruption scandals . Under pressure from the Assembly to improve management and coordination in the government , he issued a Presidential decree giving his Vice-President MEGAWATI SUKARNOPUTRI control over day-to-day administration of the government . And after that , MEGAWATI SUKARNOPUTRI assumed the Presidency on 23rd July 2001. However , in the first INDONESIA direct presidential election in 2004 SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO won and became INDONESIA’S first directly elected president . He was also reelected in 2009 . He was a retired Army General , a member of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF INDONESIA , who served as the sixth president of INDONESIA from 2004 to 2014 . JOKO WIDODO , from the PDI-P party , without any political and military background , was elected president of INDONESIA in 2014 and he was reelected again in 2019 .
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