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Why Indonesia had to explode

Bourchier, D. (1999) Why Indonesia had to explode. In: Aspinall, Edward, Feith, Herb and van Klinken, Gerry, (eds.) The last days of President Suharto. Monash Asia Institute, Clayton, Victoria, pp. 42-44.


Since seizing power more than three decades ago, Suharto's military-backed regime has stifled every attempt to organise opposition. Now his 'New Order' government, and the country as a whole, is reaping the results.

Angry crowds are out in the streets burning and looting because there are simply no viable political organisations for people to turn to in order to vent their intense frustrations about the collapsing economy.

In Thailand and South Korea, the economic crisis saw old governments voted out and new reformist governments elected.

This has been impossible in Indonesia because Suharto has built a political system in which power is concentrated almost completely in his own hands.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Monash Asia Institute
Copyright: Monash Asia Institute
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