Destiny's Child: Prospects for Megawati
ASIA-PACIFIC CENTER FOR SECURITY STUDIES HONOLULU HI
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Since 1996, Megawati Soekarnoputri, daughter of Indonesias founding father, Soekarno, emerged on the Indonesian political scene with the mantle of heir apparent to her fathers still popular legacy. In that year Megawati, whose growing popularity alarmed the Soeharto regime, was removed as leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party PDI by prominent members of both the Soeharto regime and the military by rigging the party election. Subsequent clashes with security forces caused the deaths of PDI activists. Megawatis rough handling at the hands of the Soeharto administration caused many in the foreign press to accord her with the status of Indonesias equivalent of Burmas Aung San Sui Kyi. Megawatis election to president in June 2001 was greeted optimistically by many including a massive rally in Indonesias currency value, but since coming to office, she has demonstrated an inherently conservative manner in dealing with Indonesias host of problems. Many have had cause to doubt Megawatis commitment to wholesale democratic and administrative reform of the Indonesian system. She has also drawn close to military elements, including those who sought to destroy her electoral prospects in 1996. And in negotiating the multi-party environment of Jakarta she has shown supreme caution in dealing with rivals in the Golkar Party and the various Muslim parties, even though key members of these factions have attacked Megawati mercilessly. Megawatis controversial support for a second term for unpopular Jakarta governor, Sutiyoso, may be the final straw for many who voted for Megawati in the 1999 election on grounds of reformasi. While Megawatis government has failed to tackle political, economic and social problems that confront Indonesia, she is still in a strong position to make a serious bid for the presidency in 2004.
- Government and Political Science