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Jakarta Post

Soeharto: The demise of a master

Jakarta   /   Mon, January 28 2008   /  02:57 pm

Soeharto, the father of development, died quietly on Sunday at Pertamina Hospital. He was 86. Soeharto's rise to the peak of executive power began in 1968, in the wake of the abortive communist coup three years earlier. The ascension of the unassuming, quietly smiling general, the polar opposite of the charismatic and hugely popular founding president Sukarno, took many of his countrymen by surprise, many of whom believed Sukarno had a unassailable hold over the nation. And yet, given the country's political makeup and power constellation of the day, Soeharto quickly established he was more than enough equipped for the post he was to assume, despite humble beginnings and earlier frustrations. Some confusion regarding his origins aside, the official accounts record that Soeharto was born on June 8, 1921, to a poor but not unimportant farmer's family in Kemusuk, about 15 kilome...