Posts made in May, 2016

The July 27 Affair

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

The July 27 Affair

A former Sukarnoist bastion, the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI) was the largest constituent in the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) coalition when it was formed in 1973 through the forced merger of nationalist and non-Islamic religious parties. Because of Sukarno’s tarnished reputation, the purge of Sukarnoists and overt manipulation, the PDI garnered just 8.6 percent of the vote in the 1977 general election and 7.9 percent in 1982. Many Nahdlatul Ulama members defected to the PDI after the Muslim organization withdrew from the United Development Party (PPP) coalition in late-1984. In 1987, the PDI drafted Sukarno’s daughter, Megawati Sukarnoputri. The PDI got 10.9 percent of the vote that year; the thirty-nine-year old housewife was awarded a seat in Parliament. In 1992, after the government rehabilitated Sukarno, the party employed the former President’s image during the campaign and earned a more respectable 14.9 percent. Dyah Permata Megawati Setyawati Sukarnoputri, popularly known as Megawati, was Sukarno’s oldest daughter with his second wife, Fatmawati. She led a sheltered childhood at the Merdeka and Bogor Palaces until her father was deposed when she was eighteen. Twice she started a college degree but finished neither time. She was married three times. Her first husband was an Air Force pilot, Surendro, whose aircraft went down in the vicinity of Biak, Irian Jaya in 1970, his body never recovered. Her second marriage to an Egyptian diplomat in Jakarta, Hasan Gamal Ahmad Hasan, was annulled after several months. In 1973, at age twenty-four, she married Taufik Kiemas, an activist in the secular-nationalist National University Student Movement (GMNI) (photo inset). Hailing from Palembang, South Sumatra, Taufik was thirty years old and owned a chain of petrol stations. Megawati settled into life as a housewife. Together they had three children. With urging from party chairman Soerjadi, Taufik Kiemas joined the PDI. The two were GMNI alumni and friends. Taufik later encouraged Megawati to join the party; she reluctantly agreed. Naturally shy, her principal assets were her father’s famous name, and her husband’s astute business and political acumen. Two other Sukarno children joined the PDI, Megawati’s older brother, Guntur, and younger sister, Rachmawati. They were more aggressive and outspoken, but not as popular as the modest and demure Megawati. While she lacked her father’s political savvy and oratorical skills, after an uncertain start, Megawati stirred the public imagination with calls for “reformasi.” She was cautious not to criticize the military: “As long as ABRI [the Armed Forces] continues to side with and struggle for the interests of the people, why should dwifungsi [Dual Function] be questioned?” [1] By the early-1990s, Megawati was the PDI’s rising star. She received tacit support from secular-nationalist military leaders like Benny Moerdani, Try Sutrisno and Edi Sudrajat, frustrated by Soeharto’s alliance with modernist Islam and support for the Islamist officers associated with B.J. Habibie and the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (Ikatan Cendekiawan Muslim Indonesia, ICMI). Moerdani, in particular, was sympathetic toward Megawati. He had met her as a young woman when he received a medal from her father, President Sukarno. [2] Soeharto instructed then-Armed Forces Commander Try Sutrisno, Chief of Staff for Social-Political Affairs (Kepala Staf...

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