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Showing posts from September 23, 2004

The Queen is dead, hail the new republic

By Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, Jakarta The people have spoken. The message clear and overwhelming: Megawati, pack your bags! She helped sooth the volatility of the young democracy, but Megawati's patrician manner while in power endeared her to few and her aloofness alienated many. Despite ascending to power as an agent of the wong cilik (common people), Megawati's three-year rule only perpetuated the kind of detached and autocratic government that has typified Indonesian leadership since the time of her father. From first president Sukarno's personality cult, Soeharto's "kingship" to Abdurrahman Wahid's ecclesiastical self-righteousness, the country has had sovereigns rather than leaders of the republic. In many ways, the system helped perpetuate the leadership of the new nobility -- Sukarno never faced elections and, like his daughter, was effectively appointed president; Soeharto's leadership was sustained by manipulating the electoral system; B.J. Ha