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Jakarta Post

Habibie’s legacy: ‘Reformasi’ and beyond

  • Hafid Abbas

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 30 2018   /  01:39 am

Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, our third president, celebrated his 82nd birthday on June 25. We should recognize his legacies in democracy, the economy, the Timor Leste settlement and advanced technology — despite his brief presidency from May 21, 1998, to Oct. 20, 1999.

In March 1998, then-president Soeharto, who had ruled the country for 32 years, appointed Habibie as his vice president. Two months later, in the wake of “people power” expressing overwhelming distrust in his rule, Soeharto announced his resignation. He appointed Habibie to replace him. He immediately implemented major reforms following social unrest and violence across Jakarta and other cities.

Habibie reformed the administration, removed all restrictive laws, allowed for a free press, arranged for free parliamentary and presidential elections the following year and issued a regulation to limit preside...