ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Desperate Suharto

A Desperate Suharto THE election of Suharto as the president of Indonesia for the seventh consecutive five-year term passed off smoothly enough. By re-electing him, the 1,000- member People's Consultative Congress, largely consisting of members appointed by Suharto himself, reaffirmed its faith in the continuance of a regime that has brutally suppressed its people for the past 32 years. The legitimacy of this regime was slurred over in the past partly because it acted as a bulwark against a perceived communist threat in the south-east Asian region and partly because of the sustained growth of the Indonesian economy at 7 per cent since the early 1970s. But the recent financial crisis, besides undoing its economic progress of the past couple of decades and plunging Indonesians into deep, unmitigated distress, starkly laid bare the systematic emaciation of all political resistance within the country. The developed countries of the north, which have propped up Suharto throughout his long tenure, are accomplices in this monstrosity. Even as social unrest spread, Suharto proved himself indispensable as the ruling Golkar Party renominated him for presidentship and Suharto's allies in the north, though disenchanted, played along.

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