National Monument in Jakarta, 2007. Wikimedia Commons

By Jamie S Davidson

East Asia Forum-Oct 2

In 1998, 20 years ago this year, the combined pressures of a regional economic collapse, student protests, elite defection, urban riots and a polarized military led long-time strongman Suharto to step down from the Indonesian presidency. To some surprise, in the following year the vast archipelagic nation-state implemented its first national democratic elections since 1955. Few predicted then what is hardly disputable today — that Indonesia would become Southeast Asia’s freest democracy for the better part of two decades.

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First published in: East Asia Forum