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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Will Megawati make a difference?
Megawati Sukarboputri has taken over as Indonesia's president after Abdurrahman Wahid was dramatically dismissed from office.
Mr Wahid had earlier declared a state of emergency and refused to resign despite moves to oust him from power.
Indonesia is a huge country with a population of about 225 million people. It is riven with ethnic and religious divisions and its economy is faltering.
Will changing the president solve the country's problems, and does she have enough support? Can Megawati resolve the nation's troubles ?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The fact is, right wing politicians and the military were the reason for Megawati's ascent to power. If Megawati yields too much to the right wing politicians and the military, my Motherland's fate will be no different from her fate during Suharto's fascist regime period.
Give her time, Ibu Megawati will find solutions to most if not all of Indonesia's problems. Instead of giving support to her, many of the posters here have concluded that she is "dead-on-arrival". I think she is a formidable woman, who knows when to keep quiet and when to raise hell. Do not be mistaken by her shyness and demure disposition, as she can rise when the time is right and she understands the importance of appearance in the game of politics in Indonesia. Try to understand the shadow play (wayang kulit), then you may be enlightened with Javanese culture and practices. Revisit this site a year from now, and witness yourself.
I believe that in every bad thing, there is good, and in every dark, there is light. Megawati should prove she is different from the traditional politicians. You have to be bold and open and frank to do the job. She may be a helpless housewife but she can also be strong Goliath. Being a leader is not easy. You cannot please everybody. So! I pray to the New President, be different from the others. Show it to the world that you can change the tide. Help your people. Help the country. We shall support you then morally and spiritually.
The other obstacle is the treatment of the minority ethnic groups. Without justice and rectifying all the wrong doings of the past, Indonesia cannot go forward. Like a graduated student, Indonesia has yet to start work.
I don't think Megawati can make a difference in the short term. I don't think she will overcome all the problems that now Indonesia faces, such as corruption, poverty and crisis economy as well as other problems that happen in Aceh, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya and East Timor. But we have given the opportunity to Megawati to do her job as president so we just wait and see if there will be change or not. The question that you raise is right, with change of president it will solve the problem? So just wait and see.
Jacob Carlsson, Sweden
Maybe yes, maybe no - because Indonesia faces a lot of problems so I don't think so, but we have given the possibility to Megawati in order to run the country as new president of Indonesia.
Megawati is a lady without opinions, backed by the army and political elite. Both are afraid of major change, and of corruption investigations. Indonesia won't change, but has a kindly, respectable face. That favours no change, in a nation that craves change. It's only a matter of time, before Mega becomes yesterday's news.
Regardless of whether Megawati can do better, two points are certain. Firstly, she cannot do worst than Gus Dur, and secondly, she is just accepting what is rightfully hers in the first place, i.e. the presidency of Indonesia. It is ironic that when her party initially won the election that would make her president, she was rejected because she was a woman and the extremists declared this was unacceptable in an Islamic country. This time round, there was no objection! It is this inconsistency and lack of direction of the ruling elite that is mainly responsible for Indonesia's present situation.
Megawati has a double daunting task of reviving a faltering, fractious nation and keeping the iconic legacy of Sukarno intact. Given her predilection for silence and Javanese decorum, it would require some charismatic efforts by her government to push forward reforms to satisfy her peoples' needs and the respect of the international community. How apropos that the 100th anniversary of her father's birth saw the ascension of the "Daughter of the Republic."
Martin Patmore, Japan
She gets the support of the people simply because of her father. Is she really good enough? I doubt it.
I think the Indonesians are expecting far too much from her. She is just an ordinary housewife thrown into the limelight for the occasion by certain politicians. She will be unable to keep a nation of 220 million people together. She will just be a puppet for the military. The fragmentation of Indonesia which began with East Timor will now continue.
To be a successful country is not only in her own hand or that of her leader, but also in the Indonesian people's hand. So, let's make one nation and one language together to build our country free from capitalism and tyranny.
Megawati is a silent politician, but she is well known as an honest person, adherent to the constitutions, and reliable. This is part of essential requirements that Indonesia need from their leader right now. She needs to be supported by highly capable and equally honest people in order to solve the many problems of this country. I truly wish her very good luck.
Megawati will never succeed. She will never be able to identify herself with all the masses of people, which number over 200 million. Indonesia has seen promises of structural reforms, lower unemployment and better standards of living, but as of yet no one has been able to deliver. The stock market crashes in the late 1990's followed by the devaluations of the currency have done nothing but further deepen their position in problems. Indonesia doesn't need another leader like Gus Dur or Suharto but needs a leader, who is honest and has integrity and of course one that will not scrape the rubbish off his Western leader masters' shoes.
Indonesia has a lot of problems both political and economic. Though she may not resolve all the current problems in the country, Megawati seems to be more able than her predecessor.
Dana Pickering, New Zealand
The power now being placed in the next President's hands, will not stop the ethnic cleansing, the hatred and terrorism. These fanatical groups have their own agenda, as do the army, police and paramilitary. A change at the top will not suddenly invoke undying devotion and ensure respect for all races and religions.
I have been closely following the political developments in Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the most corrupt nations in the world and the politicians there are responsible for all sorts of ethnic and religious problems in the country. I don't think the new President, Megawati, can resolve the problems. It is not just the ability to do that. What is more important is political will. Quite unfortunately, the so-called leaders in Indonesia are not interested in bringing about peace in the country. Another important point to be noted is that there are not many human rights organisations in Indonesia.
Megawati has the most supporters. Hopefully, stability will start from her presidency after all this political and economic uncertainty.
Freddie Tan, Singapore
She offers no change, the army will be able to influence Indonesian politics more and the crackdown in Papua will intensify.
Kanzarina J Kalalo, Indonesia
Megawati is not only the daughter of the founder of the nation, but also the daughter of the nation.
I am an African, from Democratic Congo (former Zaire). I wish the new Indonesian president will be a great leader, not only for her country but for the Third World as a whole. The African history has always been closely related to Asia's one, as shown by the Bandoung conference from which the struggle for African indepence received large support. I believe that Indonesians will be wise enough to avoid the way of confrontation advocated by Gus Dur and his followers. He has to leave the power peacefully. I invite those in Indonesia who want to burn their country to look at what happened to Africa after decades of useless battles and destruction. My sisters and brothers, it is time to re-build your country-continent. The World expects more from Indonesia now than ever.
She was elected by the Indonesian people. She is the right person to be a president. I hope that she will work hard to bring the country up. All the best to Indonesian President Megawati. International community also supporting her. So this is the positive move. Hope Golkar will also support and help her to bring the country up.
Since the founding of Indonesia, the army has been playing a major role in bringing down all the three presidents of Indonesia. The army is a traditional supporter of Golkar, and Golkar has remained a strong organised political party, even after Suharto's downfall, and succeeded in bringing Wahid down. Now with Megawati as the president, there will be a power struggle between PKI and Golkar. Unless Megawati gains the support of the army, she will never resolve the political dispute that is to come soon.
Vijanth, Ireland (Malaysian)
Popular support is one thing, ability to lead is another. At least Megawati has a mandate from the people to be the leader, unlike gus dur.
If Megawati is going to emulate her illustrious Asian sisters from India, Israel, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, she is going to be a tough cookie, although her record so far doesn't indicate that. But one never knows how a person will change once he/she comes to power. Hope things improve for that country. I wish her all the luck - she is certainly going to need it.
As an Indonesian myself, I really wish Megawati the very best of luck. She's going to change the history of the country and the fate of the people is now in her hands. What is important is that the economic crisis in Indonesia is solved as early as possible, as it may affect the economic progress of the country.
Eli Oshorov, UK
I was in Indonesia during the first free elections, and Megawati undoubtedtedly enjoyed the greatest popular support. However, it was parliament with the collusion of Amien Rais, now Wahid's most vociferous opponent, which cynically blocked her bid for the presidency. Should we have any faith in this legislature? It saddens me to see the Indonesian people let down so badly by their supposed representatives.
Expectations are so high. I hope Mega won't fail. It seems to me that it's Indonesia's last chance!
Another family member.
Megawati won't be able to accomplish much due to the visible fragmentation of Indonesia along religious and ethnic lines. Fortunately she has the police and army on her side.
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