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Indonesia

Yearbook 1998

1998 IndonesiaIndonesia. The economic crisis that began in 1997 continued during the year. After an unrealistic state budget for 1998/99, the value of the currency, rupiah, plummeted. Panic-stricken hoarding was followed in February by unrest in large parts of Indonesia, and demands were raised on President Suharto's departure. In March, however, Suharto was re-elected for five years by the People's Advisory Assembly (MPR), I's highest decision-making body.

The government's unwillingness to obey the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) requirements prompted the IMF and other lenders to withhold promised loans in March. In early May, the government bowed and sharply raised the prices of, among other things. fuel and electricity. This triggered looting and crowds, which manifested itself in the persecution of Chinese, who dominate the economic life of Indonesia. After the deaths of six students May 12, chaos erupted in the capital Jakarta: thousands of shops and department stores were looted and burned down. At least 1,200 people died. Witnesses singled out organized provocateurs to have been behind the worst riots, and the military was later forced to admit that soldiers were involved.

1998 Indonesia

Requirements for Suharto's departure were now heard higher and higher in the establishment. 10,000 students occupied Parliament in protest of the President. On May 21, Suharto gave up, after ruling Indonesia for 32 years according to Digopaul. He handed over the power to the newly elected Vice President Jusuf Habibie. He dismissed the most compromised Suharto supporters from the government and undertook a series of democratic reforms. New parties were formed and the ban on trade unions was lifted. Freedom of the press and opinion increased. Political prisoners were released. More than 140 corrupt politicians were excluded from the MPR and soon the Suharto family was forced out of the MPR and the Golkar government party. During the autumn, an investigation was also made into Suharto's assets. His family is suspected to have made a fortune of up to $ 40 billion during his time in power.

The political opening also increased the optimism of an end to the conflict in East Timor. The army withdrew some of its force from East Timor, as well as from two other crisis hardeners, the provinces of Aceh in northern Sumatra and Irian Jaya in western New Guinea.

Despite increased international credit, an economic decline of more than 15% was expected during the year. The budget deficit was estimated at 8.5% of GDP, inflation up to 100%. Various sources indicate that between 40 and 100 million. residents live below the official poverty line. According to the World Bank, no modern country has suffered such a dramatic economic collapse. In the autumn, food shortages in half the country and 17 million were reported. families risked starvation. The price of rice had tripled in a year.

The protests against the old power structures continued throughout the year. Severe riots edged that meeting in MPR in November, when it was decided that the military should retain its political influence.

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