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A New Regime in Indonesia

This week's In the News discusses the recent hand-over of power in Indonesia. The eight resources discussed offer background information, commentary, and analysis from a variety of viewpoints. After days of escalating riots and protests, Indonesian President Suharto resigned from office, ending 32 years of rule over the world's fourth most populated country. Although fueled by severe economic and political turmoil, the rapidity of Suharto's fall surprised almost all analysts and commentators. Suharto was immediately replaced by his vice-president, B.J. Habibie, who quickly called for widespread reforms of the economic, political and judicial system. Habibie has also declared himself a transitional figure and promised new elections before his term ends in 2003. While there is little agreement on what, exactly, is meant by reform, most hold that at the very least, Indonesia's next election must be demonstrably more democratic than those of the Suharto regime. Regardless of his intentions, Habibie and the rest of Indonesia still face a difficult future. The economic woes that precipitated the crisis continue unabated and the exact role of the university students who helped bring Suharto down in the future political process is unclear. Perhaps even more troubling are the signs that ethnic and religious tension, long suppressed under Suharto's quasi-imperial rule, have resurfaced in the public sphere. Some analysts have begun to question not only if Indonesia can restore itself as an economic power in the region, but if it can even remain intact.
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In the News: A New Regime in Indonesia
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