1991-92 Increasing activity among the separatist groups
In 1991, clashes between the army and the liberation
movements in Aceh in northern Sumatra worsened, and the
military commander at the same time called for a complete
extermination of the partisans. In November, Indonesian
soldiers shot thousands of demonstrations in Dili, East
Timor's capital. 271 were killed. In March 92, separatist
groups launched an armed offensive in the province of Irian
Jaya. At the same time, the United States government decided
to make a congressional proposal for a $ 2.3 million grant
to train Indonesian officers and security forces.
In preparation for the 1992 parliamentary elections, the
main opposition party - the PPP - entered into an agreement
with Muslim leaders with significant influence over the
country. The other opposition party - PDI - responded by
bringing several of Sukarno's children into the political
scene - including Guruh, a famous author of popular songs.
But once again, Golkar won with 68% of the vote. In March
93, for the sixth time, Suharto was elected by the People's
Assembly as the President of Indonesia.
Throughout the 1990s, exports of gas, oil, timber and new
industrial products, together with tourism revenue, were
responsible for annual GDP growth of 6-8%. Yet, 27% of the
population lived in absolute poverty. The rapid harvesting
of forests and the implementation of major infrastructure
projects led to the loss of fertile lands and the
displacement of rural people.
the Muslims who make up 90% of the population increasingly
directed their protests against the privileges of the
Chinese and Christians. In March 1994, a scandal was
revealed in which Chinese businessmen and politicians from
the ruling party were implicated. In June, the government
closed a newspaper and two of the opposition's journals.
Protests carried out that artists and intellectuals were not
covered in journalism. In March 95, Minister of Information
Harmoko ordered the members of the Alliance of Independent
Journalists arrested. It had been formed after the closure
of the 3 leaves the year before. In September, the
government banned a former Sukarno assistant's release of
his memoirs, as well as several public leaders' public
appearances. In East Timor, the liberation movement faced
significant pressure from the military.
Through 1995, the higher technocratic middle class
manifested its growing interest in political opening.
Nevertheless, it was estimated that Suharto would once again
win the presidential election in 98. The polemical Minister
of Research and Technology, BJ Habibie, positioned himself
as a possible successor to Suharto, ensuring that a number
of the president's younger allies came forward at the
expense of older generals.
In August, Suharto ordered the political prisoners
released, who had been in prison for 30 years since the 1965
uprising. In May, he announced a plan for a reduction in the
number of seats in parliament that would be assigned to
officers in 1997.
having two more years to run in the 1997 parliamentary
elections, Information Minister Harmoko made a journey
through Indonesia in support of the Golkar government party.
The opposition accused the government of meddling in its
internal affairs. Accusations came especially from PDI, led
by Megawati Sukarnoputri - Sukarno's daughter.
In 1996, the political climate became increasingly tense
as several charges of illegal enrichment of the president's
family and his friends emerged. The military regarded the
Islamic groups, PDI and Sukarnoputri as the greatest threats
to the Suharto regime. The change in the political climate
was linked to the increased circulation of news. Despite
growing political uncertainty, the economy continued to grow
and inflation remained under control. Still, the trade
surplus was diminished. Particularly due to a reduction in
exports of key products such as textiles. The 75-year-old
Suharto had to travel to Germany to undergo medical
examinations, which questioned his continued power.
In early 1997, the country's population passed the 200
million. The government took the opportunity to declare that
it continued the Transmigrasi program for the
transfer of population from the most densely populated areas
to the less populated areas. Extensive forest fires had
serious consequences for the environment. The dense clouds
of smoke also affected neighboring countries in the area -
especially Malaysia and Singapore.
The Golkar ruling party once again won the parliamentary
elections on May 29, 97, when it got 74% of the vote and 325
out of Parliament's 400 seats. President Suharto had 12
family members in the new parliament: 6 sons, 2 wives, 2
brothers-in-law, 1 brother and 1 cousin. Furthermore, there
were a large number of his business associates and other
friends. On March 10, 98, Suharto was re-elected for his 7th