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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 July, 2004, 01:19 GMT 02:19 UK
Profile: Megawati Sukarnoputri
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri
Housewife turned president: Megawati Sukarnoputri
When she came to power in Indonesia in July 2001, Megawati Sukarnoputri took over a country beset by economic hardship and sectarian violence.

At the end of her first term in office, many Indonesians have been left feeling that not much has changed.

Megawati inherited the presidency from Abdurrahman Wahid in July 2001.

As the daughter of former President Sukarno, she was revered by many in Indonesia as the answer to all their problems.

But three years on, rampant corruption, soaring unemployment and the increasing threat from Islamic militants have done little to endear her to the Indonesian public.

Megawati has achieved some successes - notably in improving political stability.

She also won international acclaim when she attended a ceremony in East Timor in 2002, to mark its independence from Indonesia.

But she has failed to make any lasting progress in the fight against corruption, and has remained largely silent on her efforts to combat terrorism and regional militancy, a stance she was criticised for in the aftermath of the Bali bomb attacks in 2002.

Former President Sukarno
President Sukarno led Indonesia to independence after World War II
She has also been accused of lacking her father's charisma, and often appears remote and even aloof, delegating many of her scheduled public duties to senior ministers.

Even her election campaign has been somewhat lacklustre, according to political observers.

During television debates with her political rivals, she often appeared uncomfortable and read out many of her answers from prepared notes.

When her party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), came second in the April 2004 parliamentary elections, many political observers saw the result as a sign of things to come in the presidential election only three months later.

Family business

Megawati was born in January 1947, into one of Indonesia's most powerful families.

Her father, Sukarno, led the country to independence from Dutch colonial rule after World War II and became its first president.

Despite being a member of such a famous political family, Megawati was propelled into the limelight almost by default.

It was only in 1987, at the age of 40, that she reluctantly joined the opposition to former President Suharto's authoritarian government.

But her family name soon insured she became a symbol of popular resistance - so much so that in 1996, Suharto tried to remove her as leader of the PDIP, provoking demonstrations in the capital.

His supporters attacked the party headquarters, leaving at least five dead and many others injured.

The incident transformed Megawati into a national hero.

After Suharto's resignation in May 1998, Megawati relaunched the PDIP, and in the country's first free parliamentary elections in 1999, her party won the most votes.

But the national assembly - parliament's upper house, which elected presidents until the 2004 poll - denied her the top job in favour of Abdurrahman Wahid. Megawati became his vice-president.

She automatically became Indonesia's leader after Mr Wahid was dismissed for incompetence and alleged corruption in July 2001.


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