POLITICAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN INDONESIA AT THE TURN OF 20TH CENTURY: FROM AN AUTOCRATIC SYSTEM TO A SEMI-DEMOCRACY
The very end of the 20th century in Indonesia was marked by a series of significant events: the Asian economical crisis, the collapse of Suharto’s regime, the first free elections, secession of East Timor and separatist movements and riots in various provinces. Within several years three presidents assumed power one after another, with the Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Sukarno, as the last. These events changed not only political class of the country but also its political structures and mentality.
The author indicates various factors that led to these political changes, especially religion, ethnic diversity and social contradictions. The attention was paid in particular to the ethnical confl icts, to their cultural background and their course, since they resulted in an erosion of the former Indonesia’s integrity determined by the theory of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.
Now Indonesia has a new, democratically elected president, a multiparty system, and a free press; dissidents have been released from jail, and long-suffering East Timor achieved independence. But this does not mean that this most populous Muslim country in the world reached already a Western-style multi-party democracy. Its present political system could be defined as a semi-democracy which corresponds to local conditions of today. Numerous social and political problems still awaits there for solutions.