countryaah, the parliamentary elections in April were a
great success for the relatively newly formed Democratic
Party (DP), built around President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The DP got close to 21 percent of the vote, against about 14
percent each for the formerly dominant parties PDIP
(Indonesia's Democratic Match Party), led by former
president Megawati Sukarnoputri, and the former military
regime's power party Golkar.
In the last election in 2004, the DP still had only 7
percent of the vote, which forced President Yudhoyono to
make a number of compromises in the formation of the
government. Therefore, it was an already significantly
strengthened Yudhoyono who won big in the presidential
election in July with just over 60 percent of the vote and
who could appoint former Finance Minister Boediono as vice
president instead of Golkar's leader Jusuf Kalla, whom he
was forced to cooperate with for five years.
Under Yudhoyono's leadership, Indonesia has developed
into one of Southeast Asia's most stable democracies, though
not without continuing problems. Islamic terrorists still
have a tight network across the country, announcing two
concerted attacks on luxury hotels in Jakarta in July that
claimed 8 lives and injured over 50 people. The main suspect
behind the attack was Malaysian Noordin Mohammad Top,
previously suspected of a series of terrorist acts in
Jakarta and Bali. After an unusually large investigation, he
was shot to death by a police raid in central Java in
It was seen as a major victory for freedom of the press
when the Supreme Court overturned a verdict against the
American magazine Time. In 2007, the magazine had been
sentenced to pay $ 106 million in damages to former
President Suharto's survivors for claiming that he had
pledged multimillion dollars through corruption. In
contrast, the fight against corruption became a thorn when
the head of the State Commission on Corruption was charged
with murder in April and brought to trial in October.
In the highly conservative province of Aceh, the local
parliament in September passed a law stating that adulterers
should be stoned to death. The law also provides for severe
penalties for rape, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and
gambling. The provincial governor, with a background in the
former separatist guerrilla, vainly appealed to Parliament
to moderate the law.
In December, former President Abdurrahman Wahid passed
away at the age of 69 after a long illness. In 1999, he
became the first democratically elected president after the
fall of the Suharto regime, but was dismissed by Parliament
in 2001 for incompetence and corruption.
1965 The PKI massacre
This became the prelude to what was to happen in the fall
of 1965. On September 30, 7 higher officers were murdered by
a group of lower officers - provided with support from parts
of PKI. It was to be the beginning of a revolt against the
military summit, but the rebellion was crushed after a few
hours by Major General - later General and President -
Suharto. The event was the signal for a general persecution
and mass slaughter of real and supposed communists. About
700,000 communists or supposed communists were killed in
just a few months, and 200,000 ended up as political
prisoners. Most in rural areas of Java and Bali. These were
largely revenge actions for the land invasion the year
before. At the same time, Sukarno was becoming too
nationalistic for the foreign multinationals.Shell, but in
1965 Sukarno decided to nationalize the oil.
In the wake of the massacre, PKI and all other left-wing
organizations were banned, and Sukarno was gradually pushed
aside. Suharto took over real political power in March 1966,
became "acting president" in 1967 and actually president in
1968. Sukarno died in 1970.
Suharto again transferred the oil exploration rights to
the foreign companies - primarily Shell. As oil prices rose
in the early 1970s, it probably contributed to an increase
in the country's income, but at the same time the income
differences between rich and poor increased dramatically.
The living conditions of the many millions did not improve,
and many had to leave their farms, search for cities and hut
through the huge slums.