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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Q&A: What next for Indonesia
q and a
A guide to the key challenges facing the new Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri following the dismissal of Abudurrahman Wahid:

What awaits Megawati?

Megawati is the daughter of Indonesia's first president and commands strong popular support - her party won the most votes in the 1999 general election.

On the downside, her grasp of state affairs appears weak. She has shown nothing to suggest otherwise in her role as vice president.

The same parliament power brokers who have now placed Megawati in the president's seat, had blocked what many people had thought would be her inevitable rise to power after the last elections.

And her takeover does not resolve the problem of the balance of power between president and parliament. If she fails to please parliament with her performance, she could face the same fate as Wahid.

What does Indonesian stability mean for the region?

Neighbours in the region are closely watching the developments in Indonesia, which is considered the area's most volatile country.

Countries like Singapore and Malaysia continue to monitor effects on financial markets, and the possible exodus of refugees.

What does Wahid's impeachment mean for Indonesia?

Mr Wahid repeatedly warned that his removal would mean the end for Indonesia, with regions including Aceh and the Moluccas breaking away.

But there is no reason to suggest that the outer Islands will secede, now that Megawati Sukarnoputri has inherited the seat of president, though Megawati will probably take a tougher line on separatist movements.

The immediate effect for Indonesia might be continued instability and upheaval. However, Wahid has many supporters who have signalled their intention not to make the transition to Megawati's presidency easy.

Who are Wahid's supporters?

Wahid lost his support in parliament entirely. MPs rejected his declaration of a state of emergency by a vote of 599 to 601, including all 38 members of the police and military faction in parliament.

Among the population, the president is supported by members of the Nahdlatul Ulama, an organisation he led until 1999.

It is the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, with a stated membership of 40 million, mainly in East and Central Java and, to a lesser extent, West Java.

Wahid has only limited support in the so-called outer Islands.

On a much smaller scale, many non-government organisations still support Wahid.

What went wrong for Wahid?

President Abdurrahman Wahid was seen as a great hope for Indonesia because he was viewed as somebody who could act as a bridge between the different groups in Indonesian society.

He was acceptable to the two largest political groups, the nationalists and more Islamic-orientated Indonesians.

As a leading Muslim cleric, he also has strong contacts with other religious groups, and has shown in the past to be a staunch defender of religious and ethnic minority rights.

It is with this in mind that a group of Muslim politicians persuaded Wahid to run for president, despite past differences.

The Muslim parties could not accept Megawati Sukarnoputri as president, because of her perceived lack of sympathies for the Muslim cause.

They also realised that the candidate for the Golkar Party - then in government - would not have been acceptable because of his links to the Suharto regime.

Golkar then switched its support to Wahid.

The support for Wahid in 1999 was led by top legislator Amien Rais, who has now reverted back to his earlier role as a bitter opponent.

Things started to go wrong for Wahid when he started replacing members of his cabinet, many of whom were part of the coalition which brought him to power. These include leading members of the PDI-P, led by Megawati.

Wahid's lack of administrative ability, already recognised before he became president, also became more apparent. And perhaps crucially, his government failed to bring about political and economic stability.

What was Wahid accused of?

The legal reasons which started the censure process were alleged corruption over donations received by the Sultan of Brunei - the so-called Bruneigate - and alleged corruption over money obtained from the rice procurement agency.

On the former, Wahid said the donation was private and used to fund social development projects in Aceh, a region embroiled in separatism.

On the latter, the so-called Buloggate, he denies any knowledge.

A special parliamentary commission on Bruneigate and Buloggate initially found that there were reasonable grounds to suspect his involvement.

The whole parliament then passed a motion saying that he was implicated in the two scandals

But following further investigation the Indonesian Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman said he had found no evidence of presidential involvement in the two case and charges were dropped.

See also:

19 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid threatens parliament
12 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid stands firm amid protests
26 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
'Time running out' for Wahid
24 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Police quiz Wahid over scandal
06 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Wahid's many problems
25 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid's masseur 'flees with $4.2m'
21 Oct 99 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's Islamic presidency?
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