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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Indonesian president sacked
Megawati (left) and assembly chairman Amien Rais (right)
Megawati is the daughter of former President Sukarno
The Indonesian parliament has dismissed President Abdurrahman Wahid and sworn in Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri to replace him.

However, Mr Wahid is defying the highest legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), saying he will remain in the presidential palace.

World's largest Muslim state and fourth most populous nation
Huge archipelago of 13,000 islands
Racked by separatist and sectarian violence
Hit by severe economic crisis

Wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals, he waved to about 300 supporters gathered outside the palace, but made no comment on the assembly's vote to oust him.

Mr Wahid's sacking - in a unanimous, nationally televised open vote - came just hours after he had declared a state of emergency, in an attempt to suspend parliament and thwart the impeachment hearings.

But the Indonesian Supreme Court rejected the declaration as illegal and the MPR continued its hearings on allegations of corruption and incompetence against Mr Wahid, who took office 21 months ago.

President Abdurrahman Wahid
Wahid is refusing to go quietly

In her inaugural speech, Megawati stressed the need for national unity.

"I call on all parties to accept this democratic process with sincerity... this is the voice of the people which we must uphold," she said.

"Let us build our country together... let us erase all the fights among us which have only deepened the sorrow of the people."


Mr Wahid likened his struggle to a jihad or holy war - language that could be very inflammatory in the current crisis, the BBC's Richard Galpin reports from Jakarta.

Soldiers in Jakarta
The military appear to have run out of patience with Wahid

Mr Wahid - a nearly blind Muslim cleric - has repeatedly warned that the giant country could break apart if the MPR removed him from office.

Mr Wahid has strong support in East Java, which has seen sporadic violence in recent months. There are reports of some small demonstrations there.

There were two bomb attacks at churches in Jakarta on Sunday, which left 60 injured, but so far there have been no reports of violence or protests since the MPR session began.

Mr Wahid has been fighting for his political life, but he has failed to obtain the vital backing of the police and military.

Moves to oust him began last year when he was linked to two corruption scandals, although police and prosecutors cleared him of any wrongdoing.

US concern

The United States has voiced concern and urged all parties in Indonesia to show restraint.

Indonesia's neighbours in the Association of South-East Asian Nations say they cannot interfere in the country's internal politics.

MPs almost unanimously voted to reject the state of emergency, with all 38 members of the police and military faction in parliament joining the no vote of 599 of the 601 members.

The country's security minister resigned, and Jakarta's police chief ordered his men to guard the parliament building and ensure that the hearing could go ahead.

Sukarno's daughter

Megawati was warmly applauded by deputies when she entered the heavily guarded parliament building.

Wahid timeline
1 Feb: Parliament censures Wahid over alleged corruption
30 Apr: Second censure from parliament
28 May: Corruption charges dropped
30 May: Parliament votes to impeach Wahid for 'incompetence'
20 Jul: Early impeachment session called
23 July: MPs reject Wahid's declaration of state of emergency

She leads Indonesia's largest political party, and is the daughter of the country's founding leader and former President, Sukarno, who was deposed by parliament amid political turmoil in 1966.

Announcing the state of emergency on television on Monday, Mr Wahid said he intended to establish a body to oversee new elections within a year, and he suspended the Golkar party.

Golkar formerly provided the political power base of ex-President Suharto and become a major force in the campaign to oust Mr Wahid.

Parliament elected Mr Wahid in October 1999 as Indonesia's first democratic leader in more than four decades.

But relations soon deteriorated as his opponents accused him of failing to tackle an economic crisis or resolve secessionist conflicts in several provinces of Indonesia.

The BBC's Clive Myrie in Jakarta
"Mr Wahid's supporters... are willing to die for him"
The BBC's Richard Galpin
"A very dangerous precedent for Mrs Megawati"
Prof Michael Hitchcock, Indonesian affairs expert
"There are doubts... about her understanding of politics"
See also:

23 Jul 01 | Media reports
Megawati's acceptance speech: Text
20 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid appoints new police chief
16 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid faces early impeachment
23 Jul 01 | Business
Indonesian markets rise
13 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Armed police defy Wahid
12 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Police feud symbolic of chaos
31 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's power vacuum
30 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Testing Indonesia's democracy
21 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's political turmoil
23 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian military holds key to power
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