The Ambivalence of Weak Legitmacy: Habibie, Regime Change and Democratization in Indonesia

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    In October 2009, Indonesia marks the tenth anniversary of the first democratic change in the presidency since independence. Habibie's hand-over of power to Abdurrahman Wahid in October 1999 concurrently ended the 18-month interregnum of the former, which had begun with Soeharto's resignation in May 1998. Since then, the extent and quality of Habibie's influence on Indonesia's democratisation process has been the subject of heated debates among scholars and observers of post-Soeharto politics. Commentators have different views of Habibie however all agree that Habibie was a key figure in the post-authoritarian transition, and that his actions, ideas and personality traits warrant thorough scholarly investigation and analysis. The article does not only point to the positive effects of Habibie's weak legitimacy, however; it also highlights some diametrically opposed implications of his political vulnerability. This discussion issues a mixed report card for Habibie's short-lived presidency, with crucial achievements in the field of political reform counterbalanced by serious relapses into the very New Order practices he had pledged to overcome.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDemocracy Take-Off?: The B.J. Habibie Period
    Editors Dewi Fortuna Anwar and Bridget Welsh
    Place of PublicationCentral Jakarta, Indonesia
    PublisherPT. Sinar Harapan Persada
    ISBN (Print)9786029569674
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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