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Suharto

(1921—2008)


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(1921–2008)

Indonesian statesman and general. Having played a prominent role in the Indonesian Revolution, he became chief-of-staff of the army in 1965. He crushed a communist coup attempt by the PKI in 1965 and in 1966 President Sukarno, who had been implicated in the coup, was forced to give him wide powers. Having united student and military opponents of the Sukarno regime, he became acting President in 1967, assuming full powers the following year. He ended the Konfrontasi with Malaysia and revitalized the Indonesian economy, as well as restoring the country to the Western capitalist fold. Increasingly dictatorial in the 1980s and 1990s, he faced considerable domestic opposition, most notably from the Islamic fundamentalist movement. The sudden collapse of Indonesia's economy in January 1998 prompted widespread civil disorder, which led to his resignation in favour of his deputy B. J. Habibie. Accused of corruption in 2000, he escaped trial because of ill health.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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