Indonesia: October 21, 1999


Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's first president, and winner of the most votes in the June elections, was elected vice president of the country. She was outmaneuvered by a former ally Abdurrahman Wahid (an elderly, ailing, Islamic scholar.) This defuses a potentially explosive situation, as Megawati  has the most popular support. There was much popular discontent when Megawati lost the presidential vote, but everyone realized that if she became vice president, she would likely become president in the near future. President Wahid is not in good health, his new post is sure to be a stressful one, and if he dies, Megawati becomes president. Meanwhile, in East Timor, Interfet troops continue to encounter anti-independence militiamen crossing over from West Timor. So far, the militiamen flee back to West Timor when they encounter Interfet. The Indonesian troops guarding the West Timor border still refuse to allow East Timorese refugees to return home. 

October 20; New Zealand has agreed to increase its contribution to the INTERFET peacekeeping forces on Timor from 400 men to a full battalion of 800.--Stephen V Cole

October 20; Australia is using the Timor crisis to test its Jindalee over-the-horizon radar system. It can track air operations over Timor, and can reportedly track aircraft up to 6,500 nautical miles away if atmospheric conditions are right. This is far above the published range of 1,875 nautical miles.--Stephen V Cole

October 20; Abdurrahman Wahid, an elderly, ailing, Islamic scholar, was elected president, beating out Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's first president, and winner of the most votes in the June elections. Wahid, head of one of the major Islamic parties, outmaneuvered her, putting together a larger coalition of parties and votes (373 to 313). Wahid gained the confidence and support of the government bureaucrats, military officers and many supports of the deposed dictator Sukarno. Megawati and Wahid have long been allies, but this election has caused a bit of tension. The delegates had earlier rejected acting president Habiebies attempt to get elected. In the aftermath of the election, as many as 20,000 people demonstrated near where the delegates were voting. The crowds became unruly, resulting in two dead and at least 29 injured. In West Timor, Indonesian troops ordered anti-independence militias to release East Timorese refugees being held captive in camps. It is not known if the militias will comply, or be forced to do so by the Indonesians.

October 19; Interim president Habibie withdrew from the race to be elected to the presidency after the assembly voted against his speech about what he had done as acting president. The assembly also voted to ratify the East Timor independence vote. In Aceh province, troops killed two men suspected of being separatist rebels. A more reliable unit of 350 Indonesian troops has arrived at the East Timor border, to try and control the anti-independence militias..




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