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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 06:56 GMT 07:56 UK
Profile: Hamzah Haz
Hamzah Haz, campaigning in 1999 elections
Hamzah Haz was chosen for Islamic balance
The new Indonesian Vice President, Hamzah Haz, said in 1999 that no woman was fit to head the world's leading Muslim nation.

Now, he has been elected deputy to its first female president - the same woman he blocked two years ago.

Megawati's party won by far the most votes in the 1999 parliamentary elections, but did not have a clear majority. Her hopes for the presidency were dashed because of a Muslim alliance against her.

Mr Haz, as leader of the third largest party in parliament, the Muslim-based United Development Party (PPP), played an important part in Megawati's defeat - and then lost out to her in the vote for vice-president.

But with the impeachment of President Abdurrahaman Wahid on 23 July, Mr Haz got another chance, defeating lower house speker Akbar Tanjung in the third round of a close race.

The BBC Jakarta correspondent says Mr Haz was chosen to balance the more nationalist forces represented by President Megawati.

Wahid critic

When Mr Haz lost to Megawati, he was credited with accepting defeat graciously. And despite being past rivals, Megawati's party did not put up a vice-presidential candidate against him.

Akbar Tanjung
Haz defeated Akbar Tanjung in the final round
Mr Haz was the first minister to quit Mr Wahid's first cabinet, resigning as minister for people's welfare after just two months.

He said he wanted to concentrate on his party, but sources at the palace said Mr Wahid had accused him of graft, collusion and nepotism.

There was never any investigation and Mr Haz denied any wrong doing.

He became a vocal critic of Mr Wahid, but he is also known for his ability to compromise.

Mr Haz, who is 61 years-old and has 12 children, also served as minister for investment under President BJ Habibie, who replaced Suharto. But he resigned to lead the PPP in the 1999 elections.

He began his career in the provincial parliament in West Kalimantan in 1968 and, after moving to the capital Jakarta, became an MP in 1971 - first representing the Muslim Nahdlatul Ulama group and then, from 1973, the PPP.

Before that he had been a newspaper journalist in his home town of Pontianak, on the island of Borneo, and taught economics at Tanjungpura University.

See also:

26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia chooses vice president
25 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's vice-presidential candidates
24 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Press review: Indonesia under Megawati
23 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
World reaches out to Megawati
23 Jul 01 | Business
Indonesian markets rise
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