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Election 1996

Towards the Renewed Order of Indonesia

This was my first attempt at trying to conceptualise what at immediate post-Soeharto
Indonesia would look like. As it turned out it was about 2 ½ years early! To begin
with, however, I felt it critically necessary to question many of the old assumptions
which then were paraded about as serious analysis. In essence the early parts of this
document might be considered to represent an analysis of the way people tended to
analyse political developments in Indonesia. In fact the initial title for this document
as draft back “analysis of analysis”, but in the end I felt this was a bit too pompous
and opted for what I though would be the core theme for whatever path a post-
Speharto Indonesia would take, that is renewal (pembaharuan).
This paper reviews critically contemporary analysis of Indonesian political
developments. The paper focuses on the debate surrounding the eventual succession
to President Soeharto, reviews the prospects for the Soeharto family following this
succession and the emerging socio-political transition in Indonesia which will
underpin a Renewed Order following President Soeharto's demise.
Fantasies and Fallacies
While the succession issue is debated ad nauseum in Indonesia, much of the analysis
is quite flawed. The following factors demonstrate some of those flaws which are
found in the analysis:
. blurring possible/likely political outcomes with outcomes considered most
. constraining analytical “scopes of probability” to within the boundaries of the
institutional and ideological rigidities which have emerged during the past 30
years in Indonesia;
. according excessive analytical emphasis to essentially peripheral issues; and
. combinations of the above.
Furthermore, despite the enormous amount of intellectual and emotional energy
expended on considering the “succession issue” in Indonesia, remarkably little
analytical development takes place. The themes of discussion follow the five year
political cycle. For example, the major debate still concerns the identity of the current
“front runners” for Vice-President. More fundamental issues concerning process,
implication, impact and outcome continue to elude much of the discussion.

{The footnotes in this document were added on 27 December 2008, as I reviewed the original document – all with the comforting distance of almost 13 years of hind-sight! The comments are intended to provide both a little historic context that may now have been forgotten with time and also to provide some auto-criticism of where I believe my analysis was flawed or perhaps biased. From the original document I have also corrected typing mistakes and grammatical errors without changing the integrity and substance of what was initially written. The footnotes therefore do not represent part of the original document.}


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