Indonesia ATL: The Presidency of Try Sutrisno (1997-)

Has any of the student groups that lead the protests popped up yet? Like Forkot?
OTL Forkot was formed on 7th March 1998. Right in the middle of the MPR Session.

Thus far the only protests in the TL was held by Ahmad Sumargono and KISDI. That was more an Islamist rather than a student movement protest.

The student movement's there in their respective campuses ITTL. But I don't think they're at a point where they feel compelled to take to the streets and demonstrate. Soeharto's dead so they don't have a vocal point to protest against. The Rupiah is at 4,700-4,800ish to the dollar so they are feeling a pinch in their pocket but definitely not to the same point as what happened OTL.

I think ITTL, the crisis is one where companies with debt in dollars are struggling to pay their debts, people are being laid off, people are worried about the economy etc. but we are far away from the point that Indonesia reached OTL. But as said a few times in the TL, President Try's only limited the damage but they are far from safe yet. But this damage limitation will provide its own dynamic in the TL.
10: The 1998 MPR Session Part 1
10: The 1998 MPR Session Part 1
1st March 1998:

President Try Sutrisno was greeted by applause when he made his entrance into the hall where the MPR had assembled. Harmoko walked by his side as Chairman of the MPR. Behind them walked the 5 vice chairmen of the MPR.

As the national anthem played, Try couldn’t help but notice his heart pounding. When he had delivered the draft budget, the building had already seemed full with 500 DPR members. Now it seemed bursting at the seams with 1000 MPR delegates.

With a bang of the gavel, Harmoko declared the MPR Session open. After making some opening remarks, Harmoko moved to the first agenda of the session: The President’s Accountability Address.

Another round of applause rained on Try as he made his way to the lectern. The Accountability Address had been a political convention established by Soeharto; an end of term speech delivered by the President to the MPR to underline the fact that the President was constitutionally subservient to the MPR.

A large majority of the address accounted for what was Soeharto’s sixth term in office rather than Try’s three months. It spoke of economic growth in the 7-8%, rising living standards, and decreasing poverty; of stability in the archipelago, the provision of health and education, and the construction of infrastructure. It was only towards the end that the address began to focus on the currency crisis. Here, Try’s supporters would later say, the President began to perk up.

“The implementation of the terms agreed to with the IMF is not a sacrifice of our sovereignty. On the contrary, it is precisely because we have fulfilled the terms we agreed with the IMF that we are stronger. By implementing these terms, the government gained the confidence of the market and in doing so, be in a better position to support the economy, limit the damage of the crisis in our people, and have leverage in negotiating future deals with donor organizations.

In saying that, however, let me reiterate that the government has only mitigated the effects of the crisis on the nation. The crisis is far from over and still has the potential to get worse if we are careless enough to take things for granted and make missteps.”

The Accountability Address was the main item on the MPR Agenda that morning. Once the President had finished his address, the MPR goes into recess until after lunch.

Try returned to the Presidential Palace to rest. He had lunch with a group comprising of the following:

-Gen. (Ret.) Edi Sudrajat (Minister of Defense and Security)
-Gen. (Ret.) Wismoyo Arismunandar (Chairman of the Indonesian National Sports Committee)
-Lt. Gen. (Ret.) TB Silalahi (Minister of Civil Service Reform)
-Lt. Gen. (Ret.) IB Sudjana (Minister of Mining and Energy)
-Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soerjadi Soedirdja (Former Governor of Jakarta)
-Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Raja Inal Siregar (Governor of North Sumatra)
-Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Basofi Sudirman (Governor of East Java)
-Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Warsito (Governor of West Nusa Tenggara)
-Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Herman Musakabe (Governor of East Nusa Tenggara)
-Maj. Gen. (Ret.) EE Mangindaan (Governor of North Sulawesi)

They were all prominent officers, all MPR delegates, and all officers from Try’s generation. Wismoyo was appointed as the spokesperson of the group and he pledged their support for Try at the MPR Session. Try also gave his own thanks and says that he is touched by the support and comradeship.

At the end of the lunch as they were about to depart, Try shook hands for the final time with Wismoyo.

“I really appreciate your support”, Try said “I know that you’re going against family.”

“I’m not scared of my late brother-in-law”, Wismoyo replied “Sure as hell not scared of his children.”

From the lunch, it was off to tea with the Yogyakarta Regional Delegates. Here, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X pledged the Yogyakarta Regional Delegates’ Support.

After seeing them off, Try turned to Harsudiono Hartas who accompanied him.

“This is not all that I’m going to do for the next 11 days, right?” Try asked.

2nd March 1998:
Minister of Housing Akbar Tandjung announces that he will be casting his vote for Habibie. Says that Habibie represents the best future for Indonesia and says he will convince his close associates in the MPR to do the same.

The MPR today passed a resolution to amend Resolution 2/MPR/1973 regarding Procedures to Elect the President and Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia. The amendments that were proposed at the Council of Patrons’ Meeting of 20th February were successfully passed.

An extra amendment that was proposed from the floor was one which now proposed that deadline for nominations for president and vice president be closed an hour before the vote is taken instead of 24 hours as it was before.

The All-Jakarta Student Council Communications Forum (FKSMJ) held a protest outside the gates of the MPR. They banged drums and chanted “Down with Soeharto! Down with Try! Down with Habibie! Down with Harmoko! Down with Tutut!”. The units were willing tolerate the protests until it began drawing the attention of foreign media. At which point the leaders of the protests were arrested and the remaining protesters were all literally dragged away from the gates of the MPR building and thrown on the street.

As the day drew to a close Harmoko announced that the first ballot for the presidency will be held on 9th March in the evening.

3rd March 1998:
The President’s Accountability Address dominated the agenda. Where the PPP and the PDI delegations would try to criticize and poke holes in the accountability address, this time the Golkar delegates were arguing amongst themselves.

When Hartono (Tutut Supporter) tried to argue that the economy was still holding up because of policies left behind by Soeharto, Irsyad Sudiro (Harmoko Supporter) hit back saying that how was the economy “holding up” when there are people unemployed. Haryanto Dhanutirto (Habibie Supporter) then butted in saying that the Rupiah at present has lost 100% of its July 1997 value. It had been declining since that time but it has gotten worst since the government got with the IMF Program.

Sarwono Kusumaatmadja (Try Sutrisno supporter) warned that some of the critics should back off, because they were present when the government chose to enter the IMF Program. Sarwono also reminded them that the government’s participation in the IMF occurred under Soeharto’s watch and that Try was merely continuing Soeharto’s policy.

The Habibie supporters then tried to pass a motion calling for the accountability address to be divided into a “Soeharto portion” and a “Try portion”. This motion was easily defeated with the Habibie supporters providing a look at how many votes their camp controlled in the MPR in their 253 votes.

From the Palace, Try monitored the debates all the while continuing his meet and greet with various MPR delegates when the MPR went into recess. His team had set it up so that he only met with those who will pledge their support to him. Try asked Harsudiono if there’s anyone whose support will be important but will be in doubt and if he can do anything to convince them.

4th March 1998:
Try met with Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo.

The President asks how was security during the MPR Session so far. Ari said that security remains conducive in the city and around the country. There are a few groups conducting protests within the vicinity of the MPR Building but these are more to show their existence rather than being credible threats.

Ari said that there was chatter that Megawati Soekarnoputri’s PDI were planning to hold massive demonstrations during the middle of the MPR Session but that Megawati herself had ordered her followers not go ahead and let “Events take their course.”

The next issue the MPR discussed was the matter of “Delegation of a Task and Special Authority to the President in Order to Make Development Successful and Secure”. Soeharto had made the wordy request in August 1997, saying that he needs special powers to protect development from security threats whether external and internal.

On this issue, and despite it originating from a request from Soeharto, there was a consensus that it was better not to give such authorities to the President. The consensus seemed to reflect the fact that the MPR and its delegates had no idea who was going to emerge as the winner in the presidential contests and they did not want to run the risk of the wrong end of the special authority.

5th March 1998:
Try met with Coordinating Minister of Economics Saleh Affif, Minister of Finance Mari’e Muhammad and Governor of Bank Indonesia Soedradjad Djiwandono to get an economic update.

-The currency has strengthened slightly to Rp. 4,788 to the dollar in response to the stable security condition during the MPR Session. This may change depending on who gets elected/re-elected.

-The MPR Session has been good for the Jakartan economy. The units on guard are keeping the foodstalls busy. MPR delegates are keeping restaurants and cafes full with their lobbying meetings while delegates who have come from outside of Jakarta have brought their families along and these family members have used the opportunity to go shopping.

-Overall, there is a “wait and see” attitude on the part of businesses, domestic and foreign alike. They are curious to see what the MPR Session will produce.

Chairman of PPP Ismail Hasan Metareum, who is also a Vice Chairman of the MPR, declares that he will be supporting Habibie in the presidential election. He expects the other PPP delegates in the MPR to do the same.

6th March 1998:
President Try Sutrisno, Chairman of DPR/MPR Harmoko, Minister of Research and Technology BJ Habibie, and CEO of Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada Tutut Soeharto together attended Friday prayers at Istiqlal Mosque. The congregation at the Mosque prayed for a successful MPR Session.

The MPR passes a resolution accepting and ratifying the President’s Accountability Address.

The MPR agrees and passes a resolution on the Broad Outlines of State Policy, a list of policies to be observed by the President in the next term.

The MPR reaches a consensus that it will NOT pass a resolution regarding “Delegation of a Task and Special Authority to the President in Order to Make Development Successful and Secure”.

Try today received a delegation comprising of Edi Sudrajat, Soedradjad Djiwandono, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Hamengkubuwono X, and Wismoyo Arismunandar. The delegation reported to Try that they have gotten the signatures of 100 MPR delegates required for Try to be nominated. They are now formally asking Try if he is willing to accept their nomination.

“I do”, Try said.

7th March 1998:
The MPR Session begins turning its attention to the Presidential Elections. With a minimal agenda today, supporters of the 4 presidential candidates respectively took turns submitting the nomination papers of the candidates they are supporting for the Presidential Candidates to Harmoko as the Chairman of the MPR.

Minister of Defense and Security Edi Sudrajat, Minister of Manpower Abdul Latief, Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro, and Commander of ABRI/Army Chief of Staff Wiranto held a joint press conference.

The 3 ministers and 1 official called upon the Indonesian public to, if possible, remain at home until the end of the MPR Session. Schools, universities and education institutions will be put on holiday from 9th-11th March; workplaces are encouraged to allow their workers to work from home or to go home early; and neighborhood watches are to be instituted.

Asked if the government is expecting a riot, Edi Sudrajat said “This nation is at unprecedented situation. It has, at present, 4 presidential candidates and we don’t know how things will turn out. So to answer your question, of course we’re not expecting a riot but there’s no harm in taking security precautions.”

8th March 1998:
The cameras today followed Chairman of MPR Harmoko and Vice Chairmen of MPR Abdul Gafur, Syarwan Hamid, Ismail Hasan Metareum, Fatimah Achmad, and Poedjono Pranyoto as they made their way around to the candidates to verify their candidacy.

The MPR leadership made their first stop at Kuningan where they verified Habibie’s presidential candidacy. They then headed for Cendana where in a room with Soeharto’s photograph featuring prominently in the background above Tutut, they verified Tutut’s presidential candidacy.

Try’s turn was next. When he walked into the appointed room, Harmoko and the vice chairmen of the MPR were already sitting behind the table. Try sat next opposite them.

“Mr. President, do you confirm to have been contacted by a delegation regarding your candidacy?” asked Harmoko.

“Yes, I have”, Try responded.

“Do you confirm that they shown you the signatures of 100 MPR delegates, which makes you eligible to be nominated as President?”

“Yes, I have.”

“Do you accept their nomination of you for President of the Republic of Indonesia?”

“I do. I accept their nomination for the office of President of the Republic of Indonesia.”

“Mr. President, in the event of your election as President by the MPR, are you willing to implement the Broad Outlines of State Policy as laid down by the MPR?”

“I do.”

“Mr. President, in the event of your election as President by the MPR, how will you be sworn into office?”

“According to my Islamic faith.”

From there, the Chairman and Vice Chairmen of the MPR headed back to the MPR building. There Harmoko handed over his gavel to Poedjono Pranyoto. He said that it was probably not ethical if he chaired the sessions in which he was a candidate. He chose Poedjono because he had not committed to supporting a candidate. It was then Harmoko’s turn to have his candidacy verified.

Okay so we are finally here at the MPR Session.

The following is a link to a Youtube video featuring OTL 1998 MPR Session. It has Soeharto delivering the Accountability Address. Do look out for Try in the video.
11: The 1998 MPR Session Part 2: The First Ballot
11: The 1998 MPR Session Part 2: The First Ballot
9th March 1998:

President Try Sutrisno breakfasted with his inner circle this morning: Edi Sudrajat, Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto. Sugeng Subroto was delivering a report on the state of play all the while Try and the others are looking at a piece of paper containing information about the support bases of the candidates.

Try Sutrisno:
Try’s support is in the 200-210 range spread across the Golkar, ABRI, Regional Delegates, and Group Delegates. Try’s support is strongest among ABRI’s delegation and he is set to carry around 70 out of ABRI’s 113 delegates to the MPR.

Try’s support base also includes 15 Cabinet Ministers (Coordinating Minister of Economics, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security, Finance, Mining and Energy, Forestry, Transmigration, Social Affairs, State Secretary, Environment, Female Empowerment, Youth and Sports, Civil Service Reform, Governor of Bank Indonesia) and 9 Governors (North Sumatra, South Sumatra, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, and North Sulawesi).

Harmoko’s support base is in the 190-200 range spread across the Golkar, Regional Delegates, and Group Delegates. As of this morning, the PDI Delegation has also pledged themselves to Harmoko. Harmoko’s strongest support base is in Golkar’s DPR members. He is able to get support from DPR members across the various provinces though unable to get a good-sized bloc in any of them.

His support base also includes 1 Cabinet Minister (Justice) and 2 Vice Chairmen of the MPR (Abdul Gafur and Fatimah Achmad).

Habibie’s support base is also in the 200-210 range spread across the Golkar, ABRI, Regional Delegates, Group Delegates, and the PPP Delegation. Habibie’s support is strongest among the non-Javanese Golkar and Regional Delegates especially in Sulawesi. It is known that all 22 DPR members representing South Sulawesi has pledged themselves to support Habibie.

Habibie is counting on Try, Tutut, and Harmoko to fight over all the votes in Java while he attempts to get his votes from MPR delegates from Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi. Habibie is also relying on his ICMI support base and the HMI support base which Akbar Tandjung is bringing to him.

His supporters include 7 Cabinet Ministers (Coordinating Minister of Production and Distribution, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Transportation, Education and Culture, Cabinet Secretary, and Housing) and 2 Vice Chairmen of the MPR (Syarwan Hamid and Ismail Hasan Metareum).

Tutut’s support base is in the 220-230 range spread across the Golkar, Regional Delegates, ABRI, and Group Delegates. Her support is strongest among those who are most personally loyal to her father or whose links to the New Order regime are long and deep. In addition to 2 brothers, 1 sister, and 2 uncles who had been appointed as MPR delegates, she has gained the trust of the sons and daughters of his father’s followers, of which there are more than a few in the MPR. She has at least 30 of Central Java’s 40 DPR Members pledged to her.

Her supporters include 8 Cabinet Ministers (Coordinating Minister of People’s Welfare, Information, Public Works, Tourism, Post, and Telecommunications, Small Business and Cooperatives, Family Planning, Agrarian Affairs, Investment) and 4 Governors (West Sumatra, West Java, Central Java, an East Timor).

“It seems to me that the others are big on targeting blocks of DPR seats from certain provinces”, said Try as he looked over the report in front of him.

“In a situation where most of the time we’re scrapping for 1 vote here and 1 vote there, a bloc of even 30 guaranteed votes seems heavenly”, Harsudiono added “The DPR is not geographically balanced. Larger provinces get more seats plain and simple.”

“Java’s the key here”, Ari Sudewo pointed out “East Java is worth 40 votes and here you're scrapping for support against Harmoko; Central Java is also worth 40 votes and it looks like Tutut will control this province.”

“That leaves West Java and our friend Ginandjar”, Edi Sudrajat said “That province is worth 50 votes and Ginandjar is the big man in charge over there. We’ve got to get him onside or someone else will.”

There was silence. Broken only by Try.

“We’ve also still got around 200 votes unaccounted for”, Try said “200 votes up for grabs”.

“Don’t’ worry, just leave it to us”, Edi Sudrajat said gruffly.

When the breakfast broke up, Harsudiono Hartas stuck around. He said that he has 4 guests for Try to meet. “Let’s meet them then”, said the President.

In an adjoining room were Governor of Aceh Syamsuddin Mahmud, Governor of Irian Jaya Jacob Patippi, Governor of East Kalimantan Ardans, and Governor of Riau Soeripto. Soeripto, a retired lieutenant general, saluted Try as they shook hands. All were in Jakarta in their capacity as MPR delegates. Ardans spoke on behalf of the four.

The 4 governors said that they came to represent their natural resource rich provinces. They would like to offer the support of the Aceh, Irian Jaya, East Kalimantan, and Riau delegates, whether they be from the Golkar and Regional Delegates, if their provinces could have more of the revenues from their natural resources.

The President responded that it will be on the agenda in the next term if he is re-elected. He asks that if he puts this on the agenda that the governors will improve the provinces’ bureaucracy so that they can cope with management of the revenues. “For Aceh and Irian Jaya, I want to know if this can blunt the separatists sentiments”, Try said.

After the 4 governors had left, Try glared at Harsudiono who assured him that he did all right. Try said that he was going to make sure Harsudiono stuck around to help Try implement his provinces.

The PPP, having been a fusion of 4 Islamic Parties, consisted of various factions. One of these were PPP members who had come from a Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) background. During the lunch hour, a group of young MPR delegates of NU background came to visit the still convalescing Abdurrahman Wahid.

After paying their respects, the head of this small delegation Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and Khofifah spoke about how Metareum was throwing PPP’s support behind Habibie. They asked what should they do.

“If you’re going to disobey the Chairman of the PPP”, Wahid said “You should try to take as much people with you as possible.”


The first ballot was scheduled for 7 PM. In a departure from the Indonesian custom of tardiness, the MPR Delegates began arriving at 5.30 PM so that they could grab dinner at the MPR Building and be there for the vote.

Cameras lined up near the entrance of the MPR Assembly Hall to record the arrivals. Meanwhile journalists were asking for any comments from the candidates and asking the MPR delegates who they will be voting for. Some of the more notable arrivals were:

-Habibie arrived with a praetorian guard of 22 South Sulawesinese DPR members. He smiled and waved but said nothing.

-Tutut arrived accompanied by brothers Bambang Trihatmodjo and Tommy, Sister Titiek, as well as Uncles Probosutedjo and Sudwikatmono. She waved to the cameras and walked past. “I’m never prouder of my sister than this moment”, said Tommy “I can’t wait to vote for her.”

-Harmoko was accompanied by Chairman of the PDI Soerjadi when he arrived. Soerjadi fronted the microphones. “The PDI is of the people and Mr. Harmoko is of the people”, commented Soerjadi “This is a natural partnership and we will look to commit PDI’s votes to Mr. Harmoko’s election.”

-Edi Sudrajat arrived with Wismoyo Arismunandar. When asked why is he breaking from the First Family on the presidential vote, Wismoyo answered “I think President Soeharto would be proud of what President Try has done over the past 100 days and he will be proud of what President Try will do if he is re-elected.”

-Agum Gumelar and Prabowo Subianto arrived last. They wore suits and ties but still had walkie talkies in their hands. Though they were in charge of the overall security of the MPR Session, they were themselves MPR Delegates and entitled to a vote.

Acting Chairman of the MPR Poedjono Pranyoto banged the gavel signifying the beginning of the session. After some opening remarks, he moved on to what the nation had been waiting for.

“The nominations having been closed one hour ago as per regulations, I now announce that we now have four candidates for the office of President of the Republic of Indonesia. They are:

*Mrs. Siti Hardijanti Rukmana
*Mr. Harmoko
*Mr. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie
*Mr. Try Sutrisno.”

The supporters of the 4 candidates took turns cheering at the mention of their supported candidate before Poedjono continued on.

"As there are no sole candidate for the office of President of the Republic of Indonesia, we will now conduct a ballot between the candidates. The candidate who is able to gain more than half of the votes of the MPR delegates will be declared the President of the Republic of Indonesia. If not, further ballots will be held until one candidate is able to gain more than half of the votes" explained Poedjono.

“There being four candidates, we will now move to the Presidential Election”, Poedjono said.

Thus the MPR began to carry out its constitutional duties. One by one, the master of ceremonies called out the names of the MPR delegates. The delegates would then go to a group of small voting booths set up against the walls of the assembly halls, cast their votes, and then place the vote in a transparent ballot box before returning back to their seats.

At the Presidential Palace, Try watched the vote intently, accompanied by First Lady Tuti Setiawati, on television. Harsudiono Hartas and Sugeng Subroto were in the next room watching a television as well with direct communications to the MPR Session; Ari Sudewo having gone to BAKIN Headquarters to monitor the situation.

Try smiled when he saw Harmoko, Tutut, and Habibie cast their votes, presumably for themselves. All three were MPR delegates, the result of an arrangement which saw most of the political elite take on an extra role as MPR delegates. About the only members of the political elite who were not MPR delegates were the President and Vice President.

The voting took time. Nearly 3 hours had passed before all the delegates had voted. Once this occurred, the ballot box was taken to a table in the middle of the assembly hall. Poedjono instructed all 4 candidates to choose witnesses to help verify the count. Harmoko’s contingent chose Minister of Justice Oetojo Oesman, Tutut’s contingent chose Governor of Central Java Soewardi, Habibie’s contingent chose former Commander of ABRI Feisal Tanjung, and Try’s contingent chose Minister of Youth and Sports Hayono Isman.

“I now ask for the ballot box to be opened and for the counting to proceed”, Poedjono instructed.

One by one, the ballot papers were taken out by the MPR Staff. Its contents, normally the name of the candidate, were read out and then passed to the witnesses before being scrunched up and thrown into the rubbish. The results were tallied on a white board.

The counting process itself was nearly 3 hours with MPR delegates going to the toilet, falling asleep, and keeping busy by yelling the name of their supported candidate.

The four candidates began relatively even though Try’s votes began to take the lead and became the first candidate to reach 100 votes with Tutut’s votes close behind him. It then was Tutut’s vote that surged ahead of Try with Habibie’s votes following hers, Try lagging at third and Harmoko bringing up the rear. Harmoko’s votes were in the middle of a rally when the counting came to an end.

An MPR clerk recorded the votes and brought it up to Poedjono. Poedjono read out the results.

“The votes have been tallied and they are as follows:

*Siti Hardijanti Rukmana: 306 votes
*Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie: 282 votes
*Try Sutrisno: 233 votes
*Harmoko: 179 votes

I hereby declare that there will be a second ballot for the office of President of the Republic of Indonesia to be contested by Mrs. Siti Hardijanti Rukmana, Mr. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, and Mr. Try Sutrisno.”

Harmoko put his hand up and after being recognized by Poedjono, proceeded to speak; thanking his supporters, wishing the remaining candidates the best of luck, and expressing his gratefulness for the opportunity to put his name forward.

Having conceded his elimination from the presidential race, Harmoko received the chairman’s gavel from Poedjono and proceeded to chair the MPR Session once again. Harmoko then declared that the MPR Session will be in recess until 9 AM tomorrow morning and banged the gavel.

Harmoko was receiving handshakes of commiserations when Sarwono Kusumaatmadja approached him. Sarwono said that the President would like to meet Harmoko immediately. Harmoko responded immediately as well and within 5 minutes was on his way to the Presidential Palace through the empty streets of Jakarta (the time now being 1.30 AM).

Meanwhile, with MPR delegates filing out around them, Edi Sudrajat faced off with Hartono. Hartono had chased Edi down and said that Tutut was offering a coalition with Try. In exchange for Try’s support for Tutut as a presidential candidate, Tutut was willing to offer the Chairmanship of the MPR for Try. Edi said that what Tutut is asking was for Try to withdraw his candidacy and declared that the only way Try was losing the presidency is if he lost in the ballots. Hartono then said that Tutut would like to offer Edi the vice presidency at which point Edi raised his hand to punch Hartono before he was kept away by Wismoyo.

"What an embarrassment", Hartono snapped "Coming third in the ballots and still insisting on carrying on."

At the Presidential Palace, Try met with Harmoko. Harmoko asked Try who the President had in mind for the vice presidency in a way that said that he was interested. Try only shrugged and smiled politely.

Harmoko took the rejection with a grunt before saying that there was no way he’s going to pledge his supporters to Habibie or Tutut, so he might as well pledge them towards the President. Harmoko says at the very least, Try can get more support from the East Java’s DPR members.

Harmoko said that he doesn’t guarantee that all his supporters will switch to Try. He knows DPR members Theo Sambuaga and Agung Laksono are switching to Tutut and will be bringing their associates along. He still doesn’t know which way the PDI will vote in the next ballot.

“I’ll take what I can, Mr. Chairman”, Try said “It will be a tight battle tomorrow.”

“Today, Mr. President” Harmoko corrected “It is already the 10th March.”

“Ah yes, you're right", said Try while he rubbed his eyes "We’d best get some sleep then. It’s going to be a long day.”

I've been wanting to put in a report in there about the support bases of the 4 Presidential candidates but am always worried about disturbing the flow so I just stuck in the information with the spoilers tag.[_Konten_]-Keputusan Presiden no 250-M tahun 1997.pdf[_Konten_]-Keputusan Presiden no 262-M tahun 1997.pdf

For those who can read Indonesian, the two files provides a list of all 1,000 delegates of the MPR that is currently assembling ITL, bearing in mind that DPR members are automatically MPR delegates as well.

I probably know how 400-450 of those people will vote given the situation in the TL from my knowledge of New Order History. I want to find out about how the other 550-600 would vote but thought that it will be a long time before I post here again so I'm going with an educated guess.
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12: The 1998 MPR Session Part 3: The Second Ballot
12: The 1998 MPR Session Part 3: The Second Ballot
10th March 1998:

President Try Sutrisno, Edi Sudrajat, Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto did a post-mortem of the previous day’s events.

The five agreed that they got more votes than they expected. Sugeng Subroto said that either the 4 governors delivered on all their votes today or not all of the PPP voted with its Chairman Ismail Hasan Metareum. Ari Sudewo said based on the chatter he got, the Nahdlatul Ulama elements within PPP were directed to vote for Try at the ballot yesterday.

Harsudiono said that they shouldn’t be too concerned about the President coming third. The goal was to survive the first round and they did that. Edi said that Tutut and her supporters were concerned enough about Try coming third in the ballots and told the meeting of his face-off with Hartono the previous night.

“That’s not the end of it”, Sugeng Subroto added “The are some rumors this morning that the President is going to withdraw his candidacy but our supporters are holding strong in the face of the rumors.”

“She’s playing an aggressive game”, Try said “I’m getting word from Alip Pandojo that she’s telling all 27 chairmen of the Golkar provincial branches to pressure Golkar DPR members from their province to vote for her.”

“Sounds to me like she wants to get across the line in the second ballot” Edi Sudrajat quipped.

“What about Habibie” asked Try “How is he doing?”

“His camp is trying to strengthen their existing ranks”, Ari Sudewo said “They’re not happy with Metareum not being able to deliver all the PPP votes but don’t want to come down too hard on him because they don’t want to drive him way.”

Discussions then turn to the second ballot. Try said that Harmoko’s pledged his supporters to him. Harsudiono said if they can get even half of Harmoko’s votes, that would be good. Edi Sudrajat quipped that he’ll only believe Harmoko’s pledge when the votes are counted considering that Harmoko couldn’t even maximize his votes in the previous round.

Try asked if they should try to get the PDI support for the day’s ballot. The reaction was not so enthusiastic. Try remembered that as a result of his elevation to the vice presidency, he missed out on being part of the government’s handling of the rise of Megawati Soekarnoputri by a few months. He knew, however, that his colleagues were not big about the way Soeharto had handled Megawati and replaced her with Soerjadi as PDI’s Chairman.

On the television behind them, Siswono Yudohusodo was on TVRI clarifying a rumor that was spreading that the President was withdrawing his candidacy. He said that the President will fight to win the presidential ballot.

The sun had barely risen but MPR delegates were already arriving. Much as the previous night, they had to endure the cameras and barrage of questions thrown their way as they make their way into the assembly hall.

-Chairman of PDI Soerjadi arrived at the head of the PDI Delegation. “In light of yesterday’s results, the PDI will today commit itself to supporting Minister of Research and Technology BJ Habibie in his candidacy as president.”

-Juwono Sudarsono, a Professor of Political Science from the University of Indonesia and a member of the MPR’s Group Delegation, arrived. He took a more intellectual view of things and said that yesterday was just a warm up because the real battle is about to begin.

-Ismail Hasan Metareum had to endure questions about his “failure to deliver all of the PPP’s votes” to Habibie. He smiles but refuses to comment. Not far behind Metareum, Habibie arrived with Feisal Tanjung by his side looking as confident as ever.

-Tutut arrived at the MPR Building with a police escort on motorbikes complete with sirens. When she came out of her car, she was flanked by Theo Sambuaga and Agung Laksono, the Harmoko supporters who had switched their support to her and expected to bring her more votes, when she arrived.

-Edi Sudrajat arrived accompanied by Harmoko supporters Oetojo Oesman and Irsyad Sudiro, showing off the fact that Harmoko had diverted votes Try’s way.

It was 8.15 AM when Harmoko, chairing the sessions again, banged the gavel to open the session.

“Honorable MPR Delegates, welcome to this morning’s session. We have only one agenda this morning, this being the second round of presidential ballots. After yesterday, we have three presidential candidates remaining:

*Mrs. Siti Hardijanti Rukmana
*Mr. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie
*Mr. Try Sutrisno.”

Each respective supporter groups cheered at the mention of their chosen candidate. After mentioning the names of the remaining candidates, Harmoko calls for the voting to begin.

And thus the process begins again with each MPR delegate waiting for their name to be called before they went to vote. With the cameras trained on them, each delegate went to the booths that had been set up the previous day, cast their vote, and the put their vote in the ballot box. It was a long process as each of the 1,000 delegates were given the opportunity to vote.

At the Presidential Palace, Tutut’s loud Police escort had piqued Try’s curiosity. When asked by the President, Ari Sudewo went into briefing mode. The Army’s vote in the MPR were divided three ways, a Wiranto-led faction which voted for Try, a Feisal Tanjung-influenced faction which voted for Habibie and a Hartono-influenced faction which voted for Tutut.

The Navy and the Air Force voted for Try but the surprise was that Chief of Police Dibyo Widodo had ordered any police members who are MPR delegates to vote for Tutut. Try shrugged. Dibyo was had a similar experience to himself, Wiranto and many other officers; he was once an aide-de-camp of Soeharto’s.

At the MPR building, the count was beginning. Soewardi, Feisal Tanjung, and Hayono Isman, witnesses from the previous ballot, once again took up their positions to verify the count. One by one the votes were lifted up, read out, and tallied.

Habibie did his own tally, flanked by Wardiman Djojonegoro and Haryanto Dhanutirto. Tutut chatted happily with the MPR delegates around her while Hartono did a tally for her. Harmoko had an enigmatic smile, perhaps relieved in a way to no longer be a part of this. Edi Sudrajat, flanked by Sarwono Kusumaaatmadja and Siswono Yudohusodo also did his own count.

Try sat in his office going through some things that needed signing accompanied by his aide-de-camp Colonel TB Hasanuddin.

It was clear from the beginning of the count that it was going to be a tight race. Harmoko stopped the count when after 200 votes, the tally was 67 votes for Tutut, 66 for Habibie, and 67 for Try Sutrisno.

“Count slower and take your time”, he told the MPR Staff on the microphone for the entire assembly to hear “We don’t want any claims of miscount.”

When the count proceeded, another thing was also becoming increasingly clear. That there was going to be a third round of ballot and that this ballot was merely a warm-up for that.

At around midday, staff began distributing boxed lunches for the MPR Delegates to eat. It was close to 1.30 PM when the count at last ended. A hush fell on the assembly hall as the votes were double and triple checked. The delegates who kept their own tallies on a piece of paper suddenly looked around at the assembly hall at each other as though not believing their count.

The MPR Staff handed a piece of paper to Harmoko. Harmoko read out the results.

“The votes has been cast and counted. And the results are as follows:

*Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie: 338 votes.
*Try Sutrisno: 334 votes.
*Siti Hardijanti Rukmana: 328 votes

There was a collective gasp in the hall as Tutut’s expression went from self-confident to ashen-faced in a split second.

“There being no candidates with more than half a votes, a third ballot will be held and will be contested by the two candidates with the most votes”, announced Harmoko before turning to Tutut “Does Mrs. Siti Hardijanti Rukmana wish to have anything to say?”

Tutut seemed shocked at the turn of events. Titiek Soeharto, also an MPR delegate, rushed to her sister to calm her down. Tommy stands next to Tutut’s seat and shakes his head in disbelief while Bambang Trihatmodjo tells his family that they had better get out of the assembly hall first.

“If Mrs. Siti Hardijanti Rukmana has nothing to say, I declare this MPR Session to be in recess until 7 PM. At that time we will gather to decide who will be the President of the Republic of Indonesia”, Harmoko announced before banging the gavel.

The MPR Delegates began to file out of the Assembly Hall. Tutut still could not believe what just happened. Habibie wasted no time leaving the MPR Delegate. He could be seen making eye contact with his supporters and saying that he’s going back home to his house (15 mins away) to strategize.

Sarwono Kusumaatmadja sought out Ginandjar Kartasasmita who was surrounded by a coterie of his own followers. Ginandjar saw Sarwono and sent his followers away.

“The President is waiting to meet you at the Presidential Palace”, Sarwono said.

Try Sutrisno watched the television in his office accompanied by Moerdiono. The news was showing footage of Tutut making her way out of the Assembly Hall with the press corps around her.

“I accept the decision of the MPR”, Tutut said “As a good citizen that is the only thing I can do.”

“How will you vote in the third ballot?” asked a journalist.

“That will be a private matter for me”, Tutut replied.

“You command 328 votes, will you direct your supporters on who to vote?” asked another journalist.

“I’m thankful for the support that has been given and would like to say that I will not be directing them on who to vote for”, Tutut said “They can make the choice that they want.”

Try’s train of thought was interrupted by aide-de-camp TB Hasanuddin who announced that Ginandjar had arrived.

Moerdiono left the room, shaking hands with Ginandjar on the way out, and closed the door behind him. Try asked Ginandjar to sit down.

Try asked Ginandjar how things were. Ginandjar said that Habibie is really dangling the vice presidency in front of him. Try said that Ginandjar had not bought into that offer, otherwise he wouldn’t be here.

“Your methods of persuasion are quite creative, Mr. President”, Ginandjar said “You even got Sarwono to get Mr. Sudharmono to lobby me to vote for you.”

“He is your patron after all”, said Try admitting that he had asked his predecessor as vice president to lobby Ginandjar “I had to try.”

“But Mr. Sudharmono knows that I can be quite forceful with my arguments”, Ginandjar countered “And so we return to the issue we discussed not too long ago and your position on it, Mr. President.”

“I’m ready to state my position on the issue”, Try said.

Ginandjar repositioned himself so that he sat more upright.

“I agree, there ought to be equal opportunity. Indigenous Indonesian businessmen should get equal opportunity”, Try said.

Ginandjar nodded.

“But no more and no less”, Try said “I won’t have a Chinese businessmen bribe his way to get ahead but I’m not going to have policies which favor indigenous businessmen either.”

Ginandjar processed what he was hearing.

“And for the record, equal opportunity means equal opportunity for all, that means those who don’t have links to the government has an equal chance to those who has links to the government”, Try added.

Ginandjar thought about it carefully but still seemed less than satisfied.

“I accept your stance, Mr. President”, said Ginandjar “But if I may, I would like to ask also about the cabinet position you’ve promised me.”

Try smiled cynically but revealed the cabinet post he had in mind to Ginandjar nevertheless. Ginandjar had not expected that but at last he seemed satisfied. The two shook hands and the meeting ended.

Ginandjar left the President’s office to the adjoining room where Harsudiono Hartas and Sugeng Subroto waited.

“The President gets my vote, all 50 Golkar DPR members of West Java’s vote, and another 22 from additional Golkar delegates to the MPR. You also get Aburizal Bakrie, Jusuf Kalla, and Fadel Muhammad’s votes, they owe me a thing or two”, Ginandjar told the two of them “That’s a solid bloc of 76 votes. The rest you have to scrounge around yourself.”

Harsudiono and Sugeng Subroto watched on as Ginandjar asked for a phone and began making phone calls. They thought that they best be getting to work as well.
13: The 1998 MPR Session Part 4: The Third Ballot
1998 MPR Session Part 4: The Third Ballot
10th March 1998:

With just hours until the MPR session recommenced, the television networks’ live coverage of the MPR Session continued on. A split screen now dominated television screens across Indonesia. On the left side was the Presidential Palace where Ginandjar Kartasasmita had gone in to meet President Try Sutrisno but from whence he had not come out yet. On the right side was Habibie’s house in Kuningan where a lot of cars were parked and where Hartono had gone in to meet with him and from whence he also had not come out yet.

Ginandjar was the one to come out first. He was chased by television cameras and reporters asking questions about what was the meeting about. He paused just as he was about to get into his car.

“I would like take this opportunity to say that I will be voting for President Try Sutrisno in the third ballot, He represents the nation’s best hopes and best chance at economic recovery. I urge all those who have looked to me for advice on who to vote to vote with me. Thank you very much, I have to go to the MPR Session”, Ginandjar said before disappearing inside his car.

Not long after that, at Habibie’s house, Habibie emerged with his supporters. They filed into their vehicles without so much as a word to the gathered media. As it were, Feisal Tanjung and Hartono had been left behind in order to front the media.

Hartono called on Tutut supporters to make their votes count in the third ballot by casting it for Habibie.

“The best way to make our votes count and to ensure that the spirit of Soeharto endures is for us to vote for Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie and make him the next President of the Republic of Indonesia. God willing he will lead us out of the present crisis and into a better future. Thank you very much.”

The sun was setting as the MPR Delegates began arriving at the MPR building and faced the by now customary cameras and question-asking journalists.

-Rano Karno, actor and MPR Delegate, said that he still did not know who he will vote for. He will only know when the ballot paper is in front of him. When asked who Doel will vote for, Rano Karno said that President Try Sutrisno is from the Army’s Engineer Corps while BJ Habbie is an aeronautical engineer. This would present a dilemma for Doel, who is also an engineer.

-The renegade PPP delegates in the MPR led by Khofifah and Lukman Hakim Saifuddin declared that they voted for Try Sutrisno in the first ballot, they did so again in the second ballot, and will make it three in a row.

-Edi Sudrajat arrived accompanied by Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Siswono Yudohusodo, Wismoyo Arismunandar, Hamengkubuwono X, Ginandjar Kartasasmita, Irsyad Sudiro, Oetojo Oesman, and Soerjadi Soedirdja.

-Habibie arrived accompanied by Feisal Tanjung, Hartono, Wardiman Djojonegoro, Vice Chairman of ICMI Achmad Tirtosudiro, Chairman of PPP Ismail Hasan Metareum, Vice Chairman of PPP Hamzah Haz, Legal Expert Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Chairman of PDI Soerjadi, and Akbar Tandjung. Seeing the cameras, he stopped by to have a word.

Habibie called on the MPR Delegates to vote him as president. He said that in the three months in which President Try Sutrisno had held office, the economy has declined. The financial system is in tatters, the economy is slowing down, and people are falling back below the poverty line. Habibie said that he can change all that as president and that he will lead Indonesia into economic recovery and into the 21st century. Habibie once again called on the MPR Delegates, be they Tutut or Harmoko or even Try voters in the previous ballots, to vote for him in the third ballot.

-Commander of ABRI/Army Chief of Staff Wiranto was the last to arrive, accompanied by ABRI Chief of General Staff Agum Gumelar and Commander of Kopassus Prabowo Subianto who were in charge of overall security at the MPR Session. When asked who he will vote for, Wiranto responded that today he and ABRI will fulfill both of the Dual Function; fulfilling the defense and security function by keeping the MPR Session secure and the socio-political function by helping elect the President of the Republic of Indonesia.

Back at the Presidential Palace, Try met with Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto. They went through the report on support bases.

-Support brought over by Ginandjar has brought the amount of votes up to around 410-415 votes. There are also Harmoko supporters who have switched to Tutut but who are now switching to him such as Agung Laksono and Theo Sambuaga.

-Habibie needs 163 votes from Tutut to win the presidency. The votes most likely to switch from Tutut to Habibie are those of Islamic clerics and bureaucrats contained in the Group Delegates.

-The Soeharto family is divided on whether they should vote for Try or Habibie. This divide is picked up by Tutut supporters who are currently divided themselves on who to vote for.

-Key to Try’s victory will be whether Alip Pandoyo can convert the Central Java Golkar DPR members to Try’s camp. Key to Habibie’s victory will be how many votes Hartono can deliver to him.

“Well, even with all these calculations, there are still MPR delegates whose voting intentions both Habibie and I can’t guess”, Try said.

The President thanked his friends and said that he will be spending the next few hours with his family at the Vice Presidential Residence, who has come to support him. Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto were about to head to the room where they’ve set up their command post throughout the MPR Session when the President stopped them.

“Wait. There’s one more thing I have to ask from you”, said Try.

Try wrote a name on a piece of paper and handed it to Harsudiono.

“I need you to get him to come to the palace and wait for me until the MPR Session produces a result”, Try said “When the result is clear, I will meet him.”

“What do you want to discuss with him?” asked Ari Sudewo.

“Depends on the result”, Try replied “If I lose, I want to ask him what the first few months of retirement feels like.”

“And if you win?” asked Harsudiono.

“There is a large favor I want to ask from him”, Try said.

It was a large family dinner with the First Lady playing the role of chef. 6 out of Try’s 7 children were there, except for Isfan Fajar who was an MPR Delegate and will be voting that night. All children brought their spouses and children except for Try’s eldest daughter Nora whose husband, was overseeing security in South Sumatra.

“Ryamizard wishes you well, Dad. He really regrets not being able to come along”, she said.

The family had a meal together and then sat down at the Vice Presidential Residence (The President having continued to live in the Vice Presidential Residence despite working at the Presidential Palace) to watch the television.

Around the nation, families were either sitting down around a TV or a radio to hear developments from Jakarta. Those who were not at home planned to be there when the votes were counted; the ballots having been done often enough for people to know how long the process takes.

Try and the family watched the news followed by the patriotic strains of “Garuda Pancasila” and then at last, the live images from inside the MPR Session. As if on cue, Harmoko made his opening remarks as Chairman of the MPR and then banged the gavel to open the session.

“Fellow MPR Delegates, we have one agenda tonight; that being the third round of ballot for the office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. The ballot will be contested by two candidates:

*Mr. Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie
*Mr. Try Sutrisno

No doubt all of you know by now how lengthy this process is so without further ado, let us begin”, said Harmoko.

For the third time in two days, the MPR will fulfill its constitutional duties and attempt to produce a president.

Try watched on as his fate was being decided. Tomorrow, he was going to leave this residence. The only question was whether he will be heading home or whether he will be heading to the Presidential Palace. He was tense but his family seemed bent on distracting him with cuddles and light conversations.

In the next room, Ari Sudewo kept a watch on the intelligence chatter while Sugeng Subroto watched the television and tried to guest which way people were voting. Harsudiono Hartas returned 45 minutes after the vote began. The person whose presence Try had asked for, Harsudiono said, is now waiting at the Presidential Palace.

By the time half of the MPR delegates had voted, all of Try’s grandchildren had fallen asleep. Try’s children looked set to follow them into slumberland.

At the MPR Session, Edi Sudrajat was deep in conversation with Siswono Yudohusodo and Sarwono Kusumaatmadja; Habibie was out of his seat and paced restlessly; while Tutut looked out of sorts, her defeat still weighing heavily on her mind.

Most of the MPR Delegates kept themselves busy chatting with each other but more and more looked increasingly drowsy. Only Harmoko’s voice echoing on the microphone had everyone awake again.

“Fellow delegates, the voting having been completed, we will now proceed with the count. Would both candidates’ witnesses step forward?”

Whether because of the importance of the vote or to ensure that the witnesses can keep each other awake or both, two witnesses were appointed rather than one. From Habibie’s camp, a young bespectacled delegate called Fadli Zon joined Feisal Tanjung. From Try’s camp, none other than Hamengkubuwono X stepped forward as an extra witness to join Hayono Isman.

“Fadli Zon”, muttered Wiranto to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was sitting next to him “Guess this means we know who Prabowo is voting for.”

“Are we all ready?” Harmoko asked one more time “All right, let’s begin with the count.”

So the count began. If the previous round had been a tight three-way race, this was a two-way slugfest. “Try Sutrisno…BJ Habibie…Try Sutrisno…BJ Habibie”, read the counter as the supporters cheered the names of their champion after they are read.

Through it all the nation watched. It was night and there was nothing left to do but sit around the TV or the radio and watched what was happening. Some kept themselves occupied by taking bets and cheering on their favored candidate as they got one vote while others made it a communal thing with neighborhood watches making the ballot their nighttime entertainment.

Abdurrahman Wahid was right, watching Soeharto’s followers tear each other apart made for enthralling viewing. TVRI recorded its highest ratings since the emergence of privately owned television networks.

In the Assembly Hall, Edi Sudrajat chewed on his nails while Ginandjar Kartasasmita stoically counted his own tally. Habibie paced about while Wardiman Djojonegoro and Haryanto Dhanutirto manned their own tallies. Tutut looked disinterested as Harmoko kept watch over the count.

At the Vice Presidential Residence, Try looked tense while First Lady Tuti held his hands.

Back in the Assembly Hall, the count was reaching its climax. Edi asked Ginandjar what’s the count, Ginandjar said 490 votes each.

“Try Sutrisno…Try Sutrisno…BJ Habibie…BJ Habibie…BJ Habibie…Try Sutrisno…Try Sutrisno…Try Sutrisno…Try Sutrisno…”, read the counter.

“497-493 the President’s way”, Ginandjar reported.

“Try Sutrisno…BJ Habibie…BJ Habibie…BJ Habibie…Try Sutrisno…Try Sutrisno…”, continued the counter as the next piece of paper was brought in front of him “Try Sutrisno”

Others were obviously keeping their own tally because at that “Try Sutrisno”, cheers began breaking out around the room for those Try supporters who had been keeping count. Less audibly, there were groans of disappointment for Habibie supporters keeping count.

“Order, order!” Harmoko said while hitting his gavel “Let’s complete the count.”

“Try Sutrisno…BJ Habibie…Try Sutrisno….count over”, said the counter.

At the Vice Presidential Residence, there was confusion about what had going on. A tally had been kept by Try’s children, but for one reason or another, they had lost count. They now watched on TV as the final tally was written down on a piece of paper, verified by both candidates’ witnesses and brought over to Harmoko.

“Fellow MPR delegates, the result of the ballots are as follows:

*Try Sutrisno: 503 votes
*Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie: 497 votes

Based on that count, Mr. Try Sutrisno has won more than half the votes.”

“Try…Try…Try”, chanted Try’s supporters.

I hereby declare Try Sutrisno elected as President of the Republic of Indonesia for the term 11th March 1998-11th March 2003!” declared Harmoko before drowning in the pandemonium.

Habibie asked to speak and was given the opportunity.

“Mr. Chairman, I would like to congratulate the President his election to a full term and I want to wish him the best of luck in solving the problems of this nation’s economy”, Habibie said “I would like to thank my supporters in this assembly hall. We gave an extremely hard fight and came close though we have fallen short.

But even though we didn’t achieve what we had set out to do, let us all commit ourselves to being a positive force for this country and to play our own roles in moving this country forward. May God always protect the Republic of Indonesia.”

In short order, Harmoko moved that Try’s election be ratified in an MPR Resolution. This was passed unanimously. Harmoko then declared the session to be in recess until the next morning at 9 AM when there will be an inauguration.

Amidst all the hugging by his family members, Try remembered that he had a guest waiting at the Presidential Palace. Cameras waited and snapped as Try left the residence. Try smiled and waved as he entered the Presidential Car. Aside from his chauffeur, Try was accompanied by his aide-de-camp TB Hasanuddin and Commander of the Presidential Bodyguard Maj. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto.

The roads were already quiet though security protocol required for the Presidential Bodyguard to patrol the route taken to the Presidential Palace. At the Palace, Try shook hands and hugged with Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto. Then he went to his office.

There in Try’s office, sitting patiently on the sofa his guests normally sat on, sipping a cup of tea and watching the MPR Delegates file out on the television, was Johannes Baptista (JB) Sumarlin. Sumarlin congratulated Try and both sat down. After they exchanged pleasantries, the President was ready to get down to business.

“Do you remember what you said the last time you were here, Mr. Sumarlin?” Try asked forcing Sumarlin to chuckle.

“I thought so”, Sumarlin said “You’ve come here to make good on what I said, Mr. President.”

Try smiled.

“Okay, Mr. President, I’m willing to serve”, Sumarlin said “Where would you like me to help you?”

“Well, Mr. Sumarlin, as you know this government has limited the damage of the currency crisis”, Try explained “But what I want for the next term is not just damage limitation. What I want is economic recovery.”

“I want you to help me deal with the economy, Mr. Sumarlin”, said Try “But I want you to do more than that. I want it so that when people look at you, they know I’m serious about economic recovery. You’re going to be the face of this government’s credibility when it comes to guiding the nation out of crisis.”

“You want me to be an advisor, Mr. President? A minister?” asked Sumarlin.

“Vice President, to be exact”, said Try.
14: The 1998 MPR Session Part 5: Inauguration and the Vice Presidential Election
14: 1998 MPR Session Part 5: Inauguration and the Vice Presidential Election
11th March 1998

President Try Sutrisno had his breakfast meeting with Harsudiono Hartas, Ari Sudewo, and Sugeng Subroto as the MPR Session entered its final day. Over Nasi Goreng, the President reiterated to his close intimates that he was picking former Chairman of the BPK JB Sumarlin to be vice president and explained to them his reasoning.

Edi Sudrajat’s absence that morning was quickly explained by the images on television. Flanked by the same delegation that had come to ask Try if he was willing to be nominated as president days earlier, Edi announced that Sumarlin was willing to be nominated as vice president and that he will be submitting Sumarlin’s nomination papers to the MPR prior to the President’s inauguration.

“The next question is, how do we secure Mr. Sumarlin’s election?” asked Try.

“The intel I got, Sumarlin’s not going to be the only candidate”, Ari Sudewo replied.

Ari Sudewo explained that Hartono was also preparing for a run at the vice presidency. When asked by Try how credible a Hartono candidacy would be, Ari Sudewo said that it has credibility. Habibie and Tutut are both physically and mentally exhausted, they haven’t made clear to their supporters what their stance on the vice presidency is, and Hartono is stepping into the vacuum.

Sugeng Subroto said that a campaign is underway that it is “not safe to put a Catholic a heartbeat away from the presidency”. Based on calculations, most of Hartono’s support base is going to come from ICMI, the PPP delegation that did not vote for us, as well as DPR members from Aceh, West Sumatra, and other provinces where people’s Islamic faith are stronger.

“The advantage ought to be with Sumarlin, I would think”, Harsudiono said “The people who got the President over the line should support his pick for vice president.”

“I won by 6 votes”, Try replied “If Hartono can get all of Habibie’s votes plus even the slightest change his way and I’m stuck with the guy for 5 years.”

A raucous applause greeted Try when he stepped into the MPR’s Assembly Hall with Chairman of MPR Harmoko by his side and the Vice Chairmen of the MPR behind them. It was the kind of applause one would give a great victor.

All in attendance remained standing, including Try as the President’s entrance melted away into the National Anthem Indonesia Raya.

Once the anthem has been played, everyone sat down. Harmoko banged on the gavel to signal that the session had been opened and after some opening remarks, announced that there was only one agenda that morning: The Inauguration of the President of the Republic of Indonesia.

“We will now proceed with the inauguration and begin with the reading of the MPR Resolution. Would everyone please stand.”

Try and all those in attendance stood in their place as Harmoko began reading out MPR Resolution no. 4 of 1998 regarding The Appointment of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. The Resolution spelled out Try’s appointment as the President of the Republic of Indonesia and that his term will be 5 years, effective since the taking of the oath of office. Harmoko ended by asking Try to take his oath.

Try stepped forward to the microphones in front of where he was sitting. A text was handed to Try and a religious official holding a Qur’an appeared to hold the Islamic Holy Book above his head.


As the President-elect based on MPR Resolution no. 4 of 1998 regarding The Appointment of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, in accordance with Article 9 of the Constitution, before assuming the office of President, I shall conduct my constitutional duty of reciting the Presidential Oath of Office in accordance to the Islamic faith which I hold, which reads as follows:

‘In the name of God, I swear that I will fulfill the responsibilities of the President of the Republic of Indonesia as best and as justly as I can; Holding true to the Constitution and executing its laws and regulations as purely as I can and being of service to the Nation”.

There was silence in the room as Try handed back the text with the oath of office to Aide De Camp TB Hasanuddin.

A small ceremony then followed. A table had been set up in the center of the MPR’s Assembly Hall. The President stood on one side, the Chairman and Vice Chairmen of the MPR on the other. The resolutions the MPR had passed over the previous 11 days were handed by Harmoko to Try. Then a Minutes of Inauguration, notifying that the President had been inaugurated was signed first by Harmoko and then by Try.

Applause broke out as Try shook Harmoko’s hands and those of the Vice Chairmen of the MPR. Then they returned to their seats.

“I would now like to call on the President to deliver his inaugural address”, asked Harmoko.

Try stepped forward to the microphones in front of where he was sitting. TB Hasanuddin handed Try his inaugural address.

Mr. Chairman, Vice Chairmen, Delegates of the MPR, and the Indonesian People.

While this is not the first time that I have spoken to the nation, the circumstances in which I have originally assumed this office was such that there was simply no time to make an inaugural address…

I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Gen. (Ret.) Soeharto. President Soeharto has spent a considerable part of his life serving this nation as President to the point that he was sadly taken away while holding this office…

There was a standing applause as Try made eye contact with Tutut and nodded to acknowledge her.

Honorable delegates of the MPR, today we mark the 32nd anniversary of the birth of the New Order. On this day 32 years ago, President Soekarno handed down a Letter of Authority to the then Lieutenant General Soeharto authorizing the latter to take all necessary measures to restore calm and order to the conduct of government.

Since that time, under the leadership of President Soeharto, we have built this nation based on political stability, national development, and economic growth with the aim of becoming a just and prosperous society under Pancasila.

For close to a year, that aim has been shaken by a crisis which attacked our currency, our financial system, and our economy…

The blessing in disguise of this crisis is that it has shown us not to be complacent. It has told us in no uncertain terms what the national interest and national priority is. For too long we have lived with the notion that so long as we have economic growth and national stability, it is all right to live side by side with special privileges and special treatment for those who are close to power.

For this nation, the lesson of the past few months: that what seemed to only be a tolerable inefficiency during good economic times, is a handicap this nation can do without during bad economic times when recovery is so desperately needed.

A loud applause erupted in the chamber.

I have been president for 102 days and now this honorable assembly has seen it fit that I become president for another 5 years. I thank the MPR for this mandate and ask the MPR for its blessing.

With your good will and good faith, I will do my utmost to use this mandate to bring this nation back to the path it was on before the arrival of the crisis.

Thank you very much.

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Try returned to his seat to applause from the MPR.

With that Harmoko made his closing remarks and called the MPR Session into recess.

Try returned to the Presidential Palace to receive the phonecalls of foreign heads of states and governments. He thought he could hear the relief in some of their voices that it was he who was elected.

Lunchtime was spent watching Harmoko and the Vice Chairmen of the MPR doing the rounds. First going to Sumarlin’s residence to verify his candidacy and then to a meeting room at the hotel where Hartono stayed during the MPR Session with the other delegates to verify his candidacy.

“A Catholic as vice president”, Edi Sudrajat commented while eating his lunch “It’s a tall order, Mr. President.”

“Would you rather it be you, Edi?” asked Try sarcastically “You’re on the short list as well.”

“It’s why I’m working so hard to get Sumarlin elected”, Edi said “Because if it’s not, it’s my ass that's going to be dragged to the vice presidency.”

Harsudiono asked if Try had not considered Emil Salim if he was going for a civilian economist as vice president. At the very least there probably won’t be resistance on religious grounds. Try said that Sumarlin was Minister of National Development Planning and then Minister of Finance while Emil was Minister of Transportation and then Minister of Environment. Sumarlin’s been closer to the center of decision making and that was what put him over the line.

*State Secretary Moerdiono
*Minister of Defense and Security Edi Sudrajat
*Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas
*Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta
*Former Chairman of BPK JB Sumarlin
*Former Minister of Environment Emil Salim

The MPR assembled again at 2 PM. As Edi arrived, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja and Siswono Yudohusodo informed him about the goings on while he went to the Palace. Sarwono and Siswono told them that the general sense they got from the delegates was that Sumarlin was a figure of credibility and stature for those who had voted for Try to readily throw their support for Sumarlin as well.

The familiar process of calling up each MPR delegate one by one to vote and place their ballot in the ballot box was gone through again as was the process of counting the ballots.

For all the worry on the part of Try and his camp, though such worries were not without reason, they could rest easy. It was later said that the mood among most of the MPR delegates, regardless of who they supported in previous rounds of presidential ballot, was that they preferred to give the President the best chance possible for his term by allowing him to have the vice president he wanted and that this helped Sumarlin. Only a solid grouping which felt that someone from a religious minority should not be put so close to the presidency were vehement enough in their rejection of Sumarlin to support Hartono.

They were also exhausted from having to go through three lengthy votes and vote-counting in the past two days, a fact that Sarwono Kusumaatmadja picked up on and appealed to when he lobbying for votes. “I essentially told them that it would all be over quickly if they supported Sumarlin”, Sarwono later said while chuckling to himself.

After 200 votes were counted, Edi Sudrajat and Ginandjar Kartasasmita agreed to stop counting because it would be a waste of time. The decisiveness of the result became clear when the official results were handed to Harmoko.

“The results are as follows:

*Mr. JB Sumarlin: 718 votes
*Mr. Hartono: 282 votes

I therefore declare Mr. JB Sumarlin elected as Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia for the term 11th March 1998-11th March 2003!” announced Harmoko.

Sumarlin’s election was then ratified with an MPR Resolution, after which the MPR went into recess until the evening.

The President put in another appearance at the MPR when it reassembled that evening; the sole agenda being the inauguration of the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia. Sumarlin, being a Catholic, took his oath of office with his left hand on a Bible and his right hand pointed up. Vice presidents were allowed an inaugural address in Indonesian politics but all of them used it to pledge their loyalty to the President and their gratefulness for being considered as vice president. Sumarlin was no different.

Once the inauguration of the vice president was over, Harmoko went on the microphone again. The Chairman of the MPR congratulated Try and Sumarlin on their respective elections as president and vice president and wished them both the best of luck.

“Fellow delegates, this has been a tiring but fulfilling 11 days because the MPR has once again conducted its constitutional duties with great honor and dignity”, Harmoko announced “I wish you all a good health and a good life but for now, I declare the 1998 MPR Session closed.”

Okay guys, so that brings the posts on the MPR Session to a close. I expected to be done with it in 3 posts but obviously it didn’t. The story of the MPR Session just expanded and I realized there were more details to be filled in. I think this was because there were a lot of activities and politicking over a very short period of time to tell especially when we got to the ballots.
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15: Appointments
15: Appointments
12th March 1998:

The DPR assembled in the morning to unanimously pass the Budget Bill; the bill having been previously held up because the DPR was waiting and seeing who will be president. President Try Sutrisno requested Harmoko, in the latter’s capacity as Chairman of DPR, to assemble the DPR as they filed out of the MPR meeting the previous night.

The passed bill was then taken to the Presidential Palace where Try signed it into law.

Lunch today was with Commander of ABRI/Army Chief of Staff Wiranto. Try ordered that security around Jakarta that had been put in place for the MPR Session be restored to normal and that all the Kostrad, Kopassus, Marines, and Mobile Brigade units on duty for MPR Session security be withdrawn from the city.

Wiranto also reported that all of ABRI’s top brass supported Try at the MPR Session except for Chief of Police Dibyo Widodo. Try said he’ll have to replace Dibyo for that. It may be freedom of expression in the civilian world but insubordination in the military world.

Wiranto agrees but said that the President will need to replace the Navy and Air Force Chiefs of Staff or else it’s going to look like the President is singling the Police out. Try agrees to this and by the time the meeting was over had approved of new Army, Navy, and Air Force Chiefs of Staff as well as a new Chief of Police.

Try ordered Wiranto to prepare an extensive command shuffle for his review and approval next week. “I’ll get to ABRI soon enough. Just as soon as I’m finished with the Cabinet”, Try said.

Try ended his day by visiting Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to pay a visit to those who were leaving for Hajj pilgrimage. There were concerned pilgrims who said that they are worried that that the and their family will return to Indonesia to unemployment. Try patted them on the back and gave them assurances.

“You let me think about that”, Try said “For now, focus on observing your religious obligations.”

13th March 1998:
Try Sutrisno presided over the swearing in of the new Army Chief of Staff, Navy Chief of Staff, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Chief of Police. The four officers are:

*Lieutenant General Agum Gumelar, previously Chief of the ABRI General Staff was promoted to the rank of General and appointed Army Chief of Staff. Wiranto will now solely be the Commander of ABRI and will not hold double position.

*Vice Admiral Suratmin, previously Inspector General of ABRI was promoted to Admiral and appointed Navy Chief of Staff.

*Air Marshal Djatmiko, previously Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff was promoted to Air Chief Marshal and appointed Air Force Chief of Staff.

*Lieutenant General (Police) Luthfi Dahlan, previously Deputy Chief of Police was promoted to Police General and appointed Chief of Police

After the ceremony, the four gathered in front of the cameras. Agum, acting as the four’s spokesperson, pledged their loyalty to President Try Sutrisno.

State Secretary Moerdiono and Cabinet Secretary Saadilah Mursyid announced that key appointments at the State Secretariat have been finalized by the President. These appointments will constitute some of the people that will work most closely with the President on a day-to-day basis in the government. These appointments were:

*Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Sugeng Subroto as Operational Control of Development Secretary (OCDS). In this position, Sugeng Subroto will be assisting the President in exercising day-to-day control over the various government programs and projects. As OCDS, Sugeng Subroto will be the official most physically close to the President because his office will be right next to the President’s.

*Maj. Gen. (Pol.) (Ret.) Soedjoko as Presidential Secretary. The President has remembered the man who had been Vice Presidential Secretary and had brought him over to his office. As Secretary to the President, Soedjoko will be in charge of the President’s daily schedule, domestic and foreign itineraries as well as various other minutiae around the Palace. Try’s association with Soedjoko went back more than a decade. When Try was Commander of the Jakarta Military Region, Soedjoko was the Chief of the Jakarta Police.

*Maj. Gen. Mardiyanto as Military Secretary. As military secretary, Mardiyanto will be the point man between the President and ABRI as well as providing administrative assistance to the President in his role as Supreme Commander of ABRI. Mardiyanto leaves behind his position as Commander of the Central Java Military Region.

When asked about their own positions, Moerdiono and Saadilah uniformly explained that as their positions are cabinet level positions, their fate will be decided when the President announces the Cabinet.

15th March 1998:
The Jakarta Post Special Report

Our correspondents’ antennas were piqued when reports reached them that the President had not taken the day off despite it being a Sunday. Then news came that Vice President JB Sumarlin was joining the President after lunch and at 2 PM when the Presidential Palace was opened for media correspondents.

At 3 PM, President Try Sutrisno and Vice President Sumarlin emerged to face the cameras.

“To assist me in exercising the mandate given to me by the MPR 4 days ago and after consultations with the Vice President, today I announce the formation of the Seventh Development Cabinet”, President Try announced.

The President further announced that as a measure of efficiency and based on recommendations by the present Minister of Civil Service Reform TB Silalahi, the number of ministers and cabinet-level officials had been reduced from 41 to 29.

The Cabinet is set to be sworn in tomorrow, 16th March 1998, at 10 in the morning.

Here is the cabinet and our reaction to their appointments:

* Minister of Home Affairs: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Harsudiono Hartas
On account of Harsudiono’s close relationship with the President, this was an appointment most political observers predicted and got correct. This cavalryman’s appointment as Minister of Home Affairs restored him to his original career trajectory. Harsudiono was slated to be Minister of Home Affairs five years ago until he nominated the then Commander of ABRI Try Sutrisno as vice president and earned the wrath of then President Soeharto.

*Minister of Foreign Affairs: Ali Alatas SH
There were questions about whether or not the President was going to take the regeneration route at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The President has instead chosen to retain the safe hands of Ali Alatas as Minister of Foreign Affairs and appoint him to a third term as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

*Minister of Defense and Security: Gen. (Ret.) Wismoyo Arismunandar
There were a few names speculated for this post. Try however, went with Wismoyo, who enjoys status as a respected figure across all four branches of ABRI.

Wismoyo married the younger sister of former First Lady Siti Hartinah and this made him the brother-in-law of Soeharto. While this relationship could be credited to Wismoyo’s successful career, which included stints as Commander of Kopassus (1983-1985), Commander of Kostrad (1990-1992), and Army Chief of Staff (1993-1995), Wismoyo was more sympathetic to the idea that Soeharto had been president for too long. It was these sympathies that stalled his career, where once he had been seen as a potential successor to Soeharto.

*Minister of Legal Affairs: Albert Hasibuan S.H.
With a successful law practice, a long time membership of Golkar, and a fifth term as a DPR member, Hasibuan had just attended the passing of the budget bill when he received a call from the Palace saying that the President would like to speak to him. The President will be relying on Hasibuan’s long DPR membership to assist in the passage of the government’s legislation.

*Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunications: Prof. Dr. Ir. Air V. Mshl (Ret.) Ginandjar Kartasasmita
This will be Ginandjar Kartasasmita’s 4th term as a member of the cabinet member and his present appointment was on account of the 75-80 votes he brought over to the President’s cause at the MPR Session.

*Minister of Economics and National Development Planning: Prof. Dr. J. Soedradjad Djiwandono
*Minister of Finance: Dr. Mar’ie Muhammad M.Si

Given the crisis the nation is facing, the President has opted for faces who have been handling the crisis from the beginning, familiar with what is going on, and are familiar to the IMF. The only change in the arrangement is the Soedradjad’s promotion to Minister of Economics and National Development Planning.

*Minister of Trade and Investment: Prof. Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti PhD.
An economist from the University of Indonesia who went on to earn his doctorate from the UC Berkeley, Dorodjatun’s background mirrors that of the Berkeley Mafia who had once been the economic architects in Indonesia. The President has turned to Dorodjatun to add credibility to his economic team and bolster investment in the country. Dorodjatun was Indonesian Ambassador to the US-Designate after his name had been approved by President Soeharto. But that was until President Try changed arrangements.

*Minister of Industry, Research and Technology: Ir. Siswono Yudohusodo
*Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives: Ir. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja

As the President’s most prominent civilian allies, the question was always where they will be placed in the cabinet rather than whether they would be in it. Now these vocal members of the previous cabinet are placed in charge of the economy’s most important GDP contributors. The President said that he did not merely want people with the technical capability in these positions but also those with the political awareness to handle and take on the vested interests in these sectors and that was why this duo with similar sounding names were chosen.

*Minister of Mining and Energy: Ir. Djiteng Marsudi
“I’m more energy than mining”, commented Djiteng Marsudi when reacting to speculation that he was being considered for a cabinet post. Presently the CEO of the State Electricity Company (PLN), Djiteng was most recently known for his appearance in front of a DPR hearing in December 1997 where he said that the reason the PLN could not turn a profit was because it had to buy electricity from politically-connected suppliers at a highly inflated price. When the President read the transcripts of the hearing, he asked to call Djiteng.

*Minister of Forestry and Environment: Ardans SH
The President wanted the exploitation and conservation of forests, to not say anything about the conservation of nature to be integrated. Governor of East Kalimantan Ardans, who has faced the trials and travails of managing the forestry sector in his timber-rich province, was seen as the perfect choice. Prior to his appointment as Governor of East Kalimantan, Ardans was a career bureaucrat in his home province.

*Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries: Adm. (Ret.) Tanto Kuswanto
In all the consolidation of the various departments to achieve a smaller cabinet size, this was the only new department. The man chosen to helm this department is Tanto Kuswanto. This former Navy Chief of Staff (1993-1996) has called for more maritime patrols in the country and for the nation’s outermost islands to be protected from other countries’ territorial claims. Now Tanto will get the chance to back up what he said.

*Minister of Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development: Ir. Sutjipto
An appointment that caused some gasps from those present at the press conference. Sutjipto is from the PDI. But he is from Megawati Soekarnoputri’s PDI rather than Soerjadi’s. A civil engineer who owns a construction company, Sutjipto is better known as Megawati’s enforcer in East Java.

*Minister of Transportation: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soerjadi Soedirja
The respect with which this 1962 National Military Academy top graduate is held can be seen when no less than President Soeharto approved of his appointment as Commander of Jakarta Military Command (1988-1990) and Governor of Jakarta (1992-1997) despite having no prior acquaintanceships or long-standing relationships with him. Soerjadi protested that he had not done much to improve transportation in Jakarta when the call came from the President. But the President promised to give Soerjadi full authority to improve transportation in the nation.

*Minister of Tourism and Culture: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soeyono
Unlike the previous officer, who climbed the career ladder on his professional capabilities alone, Soeyono was New Order nobility; the son-in-law of Minister of Female Empowerment Mien Sugandhi (1993-1998). Now this media-friendly former ABRI Chief of General Staff (1995-1996) will be in charge with promoting the nation’s tourism and culture to the world.

*Minister of Manpower and Small Business: Oetojo Oesman S.H.
Oetojo Oesman will be returning home to the Department of Manpower, where he was a bureaucrat in the late 70s-early 80s, now with additional responsibilities over small business. His appointment is widely seen as the President’s tip of the hat to Harmoko, who had mobilized his voters to vote for the President in the second and third ballots; Oetojo being an ally of Harmoko.

*Minister of Population, Transmigration, and Rural Development: Lt. Gen. Hendropriyono
Until this appointment, he was seen as a dark horse candidate for the Army Chief of Staff’s and even Commander of ABRI’s position because he is not due for retirement for another 3 years. But his present assignment will be no less challenging: the nation’s population, where the population is to be distributed, and bringing development to where most of the nation’s citizens are living.

*Minister of Education: Prof. Dr. Ing. Wardiman Djojonegoro
“Change of Minister, change of curriculum” is a quote said cynically of the nation’s education policy. Odd but true, the New Order has never had a minister of education who has served two full terms due to death or because another person was chosen as minister. The President has chosen Wardiman, despite the latter’s support for Habibie in the MPR Session, to bring some stability and continuity in education policy.

*Minister of Health: dr. Broto Wasisto, M.Ph
For health policy, the President has turned to a career bureaucrat in the Department of Health. Broto Wasisto has had experience as Director General of Health Services (1993-1996) and is Chairman of the National Immunization Week (1996-present).

*Minister of Religion: Prof. Quraish Shihab
In choosing a noted scholar who has written and is writing commentaries on the Qur’an, the President is significantly bolstering the brain power of the Department of Religion. Quraish will be leaving his position as Rector of the Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic University (1992-present) to assume his post as Minister of Religion.

*Minister of Social Affairs: Prof. Dr. Meutia Farida Hatta Swasono
Meutia Hatta will be providing the cabinet with another addition from the prestigious University of Indonesia, this time from its Department of Anthropology. Though an anthropologist by academic qualification, she has had a wide research interest which covers everything from cultural issues to the impact of development of the poor. She is the firstborn daughter of Mohammad Hatta, Indonesia’s first Vice President.

*Minister of Female Empowerment, Youth and Sports: Dra. Khofifah Indar Parawansa
The youngest member of the cabinet, Khofifah’s appointment to the cabinet is seen as a reward for bringing over PPP votes to the President at the MPR Session. However, this combative woman with a Masters Degree in political scientist is not a person to be trifled with.

*Minister of Civil Service Reform and Development Supervision: Ir. Rachmat Witoelar
The fifth engineer in this cabinet, and one who will be in charge of supervising Indonesia’s bureaucy will be Rachmat Witoelar. Similar to Sarwono, Witoelar was a former Secretary of Golkar (1988-1993). As Secretary, Witoelar and then Chairman of Golkar Wahono flirted with the idea of Golkar not explicitly backing President Soeharto for another term as president which drew him the ire of Soeharto.

*State Secretary: Gen. (Ret.) Edi Sudrajat
*Cabinet Secretary: Hayono Isman

This duet will be the President’s primary assistants in conducting the day-to-day running of the government and will do so to the point of accompanying him to the cabinet table. Edi Sudrajat’s appointment as State Secretary is a reflection of the trust the President has in him. Though not as politically astute as Harsudiono, Edi’s soldierly straightforwardness provides him with an armor no less strong. Edi wil be assisted by Hayono, who has been a quiet but steady supporter.

*Governor of Bank Indonesia: Prof. Dr. Boediono
Soedrajad Djiwandono did not hesitate in recommending Bank Indonesia Board of Director Member Boediono for his old job when asked to provide a name by the President. The President looked at Boediono’s CV and did not hesitate as well. With a Master’s Degree from Australia and a Doctorate from the United States along with a genteel Javanese manner, Boediono could almost be the second coming of Widjojo and will add further credibility to the government’s economic team.

*Chief of BAKIN: Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ari Sudewo
Ari Sudewo’s career has been a colorful one. He began as a military engineer, something which he bonded with Try over, before going on to stints in Kopassus and finally in intelligence. Ari Sudewo was head of the ABRI Intelligence Agency when the President was Commander of ABRI. It spoke volumes of the President’s trust that Ari was the first appointment he made after assuming the presidency.

*Commander of ABRI: Gen. Wiranto
As Army Chief of Staff, Wiranto was the first ABRI officer to declare his loyalty to the President upon President Soeharto’s death. His elevation to the Commander of ABRI and his continuing retainment in the cabinet is a reflection that the gesture had not gone unnoticed. Much as the President, Wiranto also served for 4 years (1989-1993) as aide-de-camp to President Soeharto.

Well guys, that’s the Cabinet, the top brass of ABRI, and the President's staff members. I must admit I enjoyed choosing this cabinet and reading the bios of the people that were and weren't picked. Do have a google search if you are so inclined to find out about these names.

I decided to have the announcement of the Cabinet as a Jakarta Post special feature just to mix things up.
16: Hit The Ground Running
16: Hit The Ground Running
16th March 1998:

In a solemn ceremony, President Try Sutrisno swore in all 29 members of the Seventh Development Cabinet.

After the ceremony, Try called a meeting to be attended Vice President JB Sumarlin, Minister of Economics and Development Planning Soedrajad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono, and State Secretary Edi Sudrajat.

The results of the meeting are as follows:

*Rupiah is buoyed by the stability during the MPR Session and Try’s re-election. It is now on Rp. 4,752 to the dollar but the economy, the market, and investors will be expecting real steps soon from the government.
*Interest rates are at an adequate level to ensure that there are no increases in the base money in the economy. Inflation spiked in January and February on account of Ramadhan but slowed down after that.
*IMF due to send its representative to Indonesia in a month’s time.

“My concern is that we’ve observed the IMF reforms, we’ve got some budget leeway, but the economy’s still slowing down. People are still being laid off and business is still slow”, Try said “We need something bigger than fixing potholes in roads to keep the people employed.”

Sumarlin said that the economy is in a good shape to recover and thanked the President for his efforts over the previous term. Sumarlin continued on by saying that the road to recovery is tricky because the government has to perform a delicate balancing act between pleasing the markets and keeping the populace happy.

“But for what it’s worth, it’s time to keep the populace happy and the way to do that is through a stimulus package”, Sumarlin said.

Try and Edi looked blankly. The Vice President began to elaborate, saying that the stimulus package will be like the labor-intensive programs and infrastructure projects the nation has had so far, but it’s going to be on a larger scale and will be designed to create economic activity.

Sumarlin said that three things must happen before the nation can get to a stimulus package:
*Start clearing the decks by implementing some more of the IMF Reforms and use that as bargaining leverage.
*Look for extra sources of funds to be used as revenue because with the economy being at the state it’s at, revenues may be budgeted for but it is unclear how much will be realized.
*Minimize the budget deficit, if any. If the budget deficit is large, it has to be financed from somewhere and this can lead to inflation and a drop in Rupiah’s value.

Try agreed of what Sumarlin outlined. He thought for a while then added.

“Which of the IMF Reforms that remains to be done are they most likely to insist on if we tell them we want a stimulus?” asked Try.

“Fuel subsidies”, Sumarlin said “If we go after that we get a good leverage in negotiations. If we don’t, it’ll be hard to convince them to accept that we want a stimulus.”

17th March 1998:
Try chaired his first full meeting of the Seventh Development Cabinet. The ministers looked eager to start, having taken charge at their respective departments and beginning to get familiar with their roles after being sworn in yesterday.

The President began by explaining the mechanics of the cabinet. Because of the reduction in cabinet size, there won’t be any coordinating ministers. Coordination will be conducted by either the President, Vice President or both.

Try said the first priority of the cabinet will be economic recovery. Without revealing that his main intention was a stimulus package, he instructed his ministers to do the following:

*Continue to find economies and efficiencies in their respective departments.
*If there are any funds in the departments in agencies which have so far been considered off-budget, these funds should be declared to the Minister of Finance to be included as items on the budget.

Try’s other major meeting of the day was with BJ Habibie. Habibie came to tell Try that he had handed over his position as Minister of Research and Technology but that he is here to hand his resignation of various agencies and ad-hoc bodies established as Chairman of the Technological Research and Application Agency (BPPT), Chairman of the Batam Authority, and most importantly as CEO of the Indonesian Aeronautical Industry (IPTN) to allow the President freedom to look for the necessary replacements.

Try thanked Habibie for the news. He asked the former presidential candidate what he will do next. Habibie said that for now he’s going to take some time off.

18th March 1998:
Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Cooperatives Sarwono Kusumaatmadja conducted a press conference.

Sarwono announced that the government will be abolishing the Clove Marketing Board (BPPC). Clove farmers will now have the freedom to sell cloves to whichever buyer they so choose, determine the price at which they sell, and adjust according to prevailing market conditions.

“This trading arrangement, originally designed to help farmers access the market has become distorted. Because the marketing board in question have bought its commodities from the farmers at a very cheap price and have sold them to the market at a very high price and have made excess profits on the back of farmers’ hard work”, said Sarwono “And as such it ought to be abolished.”

20th March 1998:
Try accompanied by Edi Sudrajat hosted Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer who came to visit accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas. Downer congratulated Try on his re-election and said that his leadership throughout the crisis in Indonesia has been exemplary.

The President said there is still so much to do in Indonesia and thanked Prime Minister Howard for his continuing support for Indonesia’s economic recovery.

Try indicated to Downer that much as Indonesia will commit to the IMF’s reforms, it will have to start looking at putting more effort and resources at stimulating the economy. The labor intensive projects have not been enough at off-setting unemployment and boosting economic activity.

Downer said that Australia understands Indonesia’s position but that Indonesia will have to show it commis to IMF’s reforms. The abolition of clove monopoly is a good start but perhaps an additional reform like cutting fuel subsidies would help.

“We’re considering that”, Try said.

In the first few days since the swearing in of the cabinet, the ministers have been energetically getting into work:

-Minister of Trade and Investment Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti gathered the ranks of the Investment Coordinating Agency (BKPM). He dressed them down for still giving investors “the run-around” during bad economic times. He orders them to cut bureaucratic procedures.

-Minister of Religion Quraish Shihab begged leave of the President to go to Saudi Arabia and supervise first-hand the conduct of the Hajj pilgrimage.

-Minister of Forestry and Environment Ardans, using his status as a former Governor of East Kalimantan, was able to organize a coordinated and organized response to deal with the effects of the forest fires fro the previous year.

-Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas, after swearing in Department of Home Affairs officials, was asked about the PDI. Harsudiono said that as far as this government, the government led by Try Sutrisno, both Soerjadi and Megawati’s PDI are both PDI. Soerjadi’s PDI is acknowledged by their presence in the DPR and MPR, Megawati’s by the presence of a member in the cabinet.

23rd March 1998:
In a meeting over breakfast with Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Try approved of a command shuffle. The highlights of the command shuffle are as follows:
-New Deputy Navy and Air Force Chiefs of Staff as well as a new Deputy Chief of Police. The President is intending for these deputies to be proper successors to the present Navy, Air Force, and Police chiefs.

-Vice Admiral Widodo AS, previously Deputy Navy Chief of Staff becomes the number 2 person at ABRI Headquarters by becoming the ABRI Chief of General Staff.

-The key shuffle occurred in the Army where 8 out of the 10 regional commands, Kostrad, and Kopassus had their commanders shuffled.

Control of Kostrad changed hands from former Soeharto adjutant Soegiono to Wiranto supporter Johnny Lumintang. Command over Kostrad’s two divisions also changed hands.

Across the 10 regional commands, Prabowo Subianto supporters are out while Wiranto supporters are in; now constituting the 2 regional commands which didn’t change hands (East Java and Sulawesi) with an additional 2 more regional commands falling to Wiranto supporters (Jakarta and Kalimantan).

Prabowo himself fared the best out of his allies though he will most definitely lose a power base. He takes over as Commander of Central Java while Major General Luhut Panjaitan, a Kopassus stalwart, takes over as Commander of Kopassus.

Try played it safe but not without his own maneuverings. His son-in-law Ryamizard Ryacudu was promoted to major general but was commander of Southern Sumatra. Wiranto offered a command in Java but Try would like to see Ryamizard cut his teeth in Sumatra.

Sugiarto Maksum, a former aide-de-camp and presently in the Army’s planning section, was promoted to major general and appointed commander of the West Java. TB Hasanuddin, Try’s present aide-de-camp, was promoted to brigadier general and appointed second in command of the Jakarta Military Command where Wiranto supporter Djamari Chaniago now hold command.

Try also use the shuffle to line up members of the ABRI Academy Class of 1972 for promotions and advancements in future shuffles. Wiranto (Class of 1968) has surrounded himself mostly with his classmates and the Classes of 1970 and 1971. Classes of 1973 to 1976 tend to be split between Yudhoyono (Class of 1973) and Prabowo (Class of 1974). This leaves Class of 1972 as the odd class out in the Army’s internal politics.

24th March 1998:
Minister of Legal Affairs Albert Hasibuan introduced the anti-monopoly bill to the DPR. Hasibuan said that he worked together with Vice President Sumarlin to craft the anti-monopoly bill and that he is working with Sumarlin on amendments to the Banking Law.

26th March 1998:
Wiranto and Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar brought Commander of Kopassus Luhut Panjaitan to the palace to meet the President. Luhut reports to Try that he has not been successful in assuming command over Kopassus. He explained that as he arrived at Kopassus Headquarters in Cijantung for the handover ceremony, the guards on duty refused to even let him into the headquarters. When Luhut’s aide-de-camp got out of the vehicle to emphasize the point that the Commander of Kopassus had arrived, a warning shot was fired above, whereupon Luhut’s entourage bundled him into the car and took him to ABRI Headquarters and from there to the palace.

At this time Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo arrived to report that he is receiving intelligence that all of the local police around Kopassus Headquarters at Cijantung have just been sent away from their posts by men in red beret and that the Kopassus Headquarters are being “fortified”. Prabowo Subianto himself is reported to be inside the Kopassus Headquarters.

Try ordered Wiranto to take back control of the Kopassus Headquarters and complete the handover of Kopassus command from Prabowo to Luhut.

“How you achieve that will be up to you”, Try said “Force should only be used as a last resort.”

Wiranto, Agum Gumelar, and Luhut saluted and marched out of the office, leaving Try with Ari Sudewo.

“I had a hunch this was going to happen”, Try said “I even retained Brig. Gen. Idris Gassing the Deputy Commander of Kopassus to ease the process.”

“It was going to happen regardless of what you do to ease things”, Ari said “Prabowo spent 16 out of his 24 year career at the Kopassus so he’s not going to like this transfer; the Kopassus will be losing both a commander and a financial benefactor, they’re not going to be happy as well.”

27th March 1998:
The President watched what unfolded before him that morning on television, accompanied by the top brass of ABRI sans Agum Gumelar. The press had called it a “Standoff at the Kopassus Headquarters”.

Wiranto had constructed pure theatre. He had Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Agum Gumelar, and Deputy Army Chief of Staff Subagyo HS, all three of whom were former commanders of Kopassus, together with Luhut march up to the Kopassus Headquarters. They were escorted by men from the Kopassus’ Group 1, the Kopassus unit which helped guard the MPR Session which was just past. Group 1 was commanded by Colonel Pramono Edhie Wibowo, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s brother-in-law.

The sight of a Kopassus unit, not to mention 3 former Kopassus commanders and the present commander, was enough for the sentry on guard to let their weapons down. Wismoyo said that the three would like to speak with Prabowo. After speaking on radio, the sentry allowed Wismoyo, Agum, Subagyo, and Luhut into the headquarters.

A wait followed during which time Wiranto ordered Pramono and his men to be on standby. Further out, Kostrad units under Lumintang’s command formed a perimeter with two battalions ready to join Pramono’s troops in case anything happened. It was later said that Wiranto had prepared for an all-out assault on the Kopassus Headquarters were anything to happen. On account of superiority, victims were expected to fall but Wiranto hoped that numbers, along with a Kopassus Group on his side, would give Wiranto victory.

Some 2 hours later, Prabowo emerged flanked by the 4 men who had gone into the headquarters. Prabowo tearfully claimed that all Kopassus men are patriots and that the patriots in Kopassus’ Group 3 had not allowed him to leave Kopassus out of their love for their commander and because they cannot accept “their commander being purged”.

Wiranto scoffed at Prabowo’s claim.

“But we are soldiers, we must obey the orders given to us, we must be ready to go where the orders tell us to go and we must be loyal to President Try Sutrisno, the Supreme Commander of ABRI”, Prabowo continued.

Prabowo then said that he is ready to assume his new assignment as Commander of the Central Java Military Command.

An impromptu handover ceremony was then set up, presided by Wismoyo, Agum Gumelar, and Subagyo, in which the command baton of Kopassus was officially handed over to Luhut. Prabowo tearfully hugged Luhut and fareweled his men.

At the Presidential Palace there was relief that, even with the tense standoff, Prabowo had handed over command peacefully. Try dismissed the top brass of ABRI but asked Wiranto to stay behind.

“I want to give you an explicit order to be passed down to Luhut. I want him to work with the Deputy Commander he has now. I’ll move the deputy commander on 2 or 3 command shuffles but for now, he stays. Regarding Kopassus itself, only the most die-hard Prabowo loyalist in Kopassus gets transferred out of the unit. Anyone who are more reasonable or willing to cooperate with us, they can stay and continue to advance their careers in the unit”, said Try “Is that understood?”

“Yes, Mr. President”, Wiranto said.

“Good”, Try replied “You may be dismissed.”

Try breathed a sigh of relief when Wiranto left. He was glad that the standoff was over not only for its own sake but so that he can get back to addressing the economy. Now there’s a tricky matter to address…

The government there finally getting to work on a few things, the most notable of which is the abolition of the BPPC which is a Tommy Soeharto monopoly.

Exams and final assignments at university will keep me busy over the next few weeks. Please excuse the lack of updates.
That was a close one. Btw has Tim Mawar done their abductions yet?
In the OTL, they've kidnapped/made disappear most of the people that were kidnapped/made disappear.

In ITTL, let's leave it for Luhut Panjaitan to find out.

Why Kopassus went nuts?
Prabowo got removed as Commander of Kopassus and shuffled to become Commander of the Central Java Military Command. I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether the Kopassus guys mutinied out of their own accord or if Prabowo put them up to it.

"My subordinates got out of control" is an excuse often used by higher ranked officers to make a point across.
17: Clearing The Decks
17: Clearing The Decks
29th March 1998:

The Soeharto family was having a big lunch because the 4th Soeharto child, Titiek was due to depart for Semarang that day; her husband Major General Prabowo Subianto having been appointed Commander of the Central Java Command.

The President was the topic of discussion as the siblings, and their partners, had dessert. Tommy started off things by complaining that he had lost the National Car and the BPPC all within 3 months of each other. Prabowo said that he just lost a power base that he had painstakingly built for 2 decades. Tommy doesn’t take too kindly to the comparison.

“It might not be apple to apple what we lost, Tommy but to speak in the vernacular, the President has struck at our interests”, said Prabowo “And it’s within our rights to protect our interests.”

A few of the siblings looked at the head of the table to Tutut for a response but Tutut was paying attention to what Prabowo is saying.

“This might be the last time I see you in a a while so I might as well get it off my chest”, began Prabowo “That whole deal at the MPR Session, I thought it was simple political arithmetic when our big sister got eliminated: the President is hostile towards the family interests, Habibie at the very least is not, so we should vote for Habibie. The problem was we allowed the Tutut supporters to vote for who they want when they could have easily voted for Habibie had there been a clear direction from us.”

The siblings listened intently.

“My point is”, Prabowo said “If you’re serious about protecting your interests, you should stop bickering. If we can get within 6 votes of Try when we're bickering, we’ll definitely win if we put our differences aside.”

30th March 1998:
President Try Sutrisno had a meeting with Bob Hasan, the Chairman of the Indonesian Wood Panel Association (Apkindo). The President was accompanied by Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo.

Ostensibly an association for timber businessmen, Bob had used his close links with Soeharto to turn Apkindo into a cartel with the authority to set plywood export quotas and export taxes masquerading as membership dues.

A few days before, Siswono had told the President that he played golf with Bob and that a personal approach was required. Siswono said that he’s buttered Bob up. What remains to be done is for Try to make a final sell.

Try told Bob that he has no intention of banning Apkindo as an organization; that all he wants is for Apkindo to end determining export quotas for the plywood industry and charging too much membership dues; and that he would be most grateful if Bob could get rid of the quotas and the dues.

Bob said he couldn’t say no to Siswono and he certainly couldn’t say no to the President. Try shook hands with Bob, saying that he appreciates what Bob is doing for the national interest.

31st March 1998:
The President lunched with Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas. They talked about various issues:
-On Sutjipto’s appointment to the Cabinet: Chairman of PDI Soerjadi said that he could accept the appointment of a Megawati supporter to the cabinet but said that he has had to restrain his members from lashing out against the government. Try said that Soerjadi has to accept government policy. At the very least the government is not trying to replace him as chairman of PDI.

Harsudiono also told the President that Megawati Soekarnoputri has invited the President to the wedding of her daughter late next month.

-On gubernatorial elections: Harsudiono said that there are a few around the horizon with the DPRDs of East Kalimantan, West Java, and North Sumatra set to meet to elect the governors of those province. Try said he’s most interested in the West Javanese gubernatorial. He would like Harsudiono to push for Lt. Gen. Muzani Syukur, a friend of Edi Sudrajat’s, to be elected governor.

Try said he would like the governors of Aceh and Irian Jaya to remain in their positions as well.

1st April 1998:
Try’s 8 AM appointment was with Vice President JB Sumarlin. They had tea just as the economic figures for the 1st quarter of 1998 were brought in by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat.

“Inflation stable if slightly higher than normal…exchange rate stable…but economic growth is the problem”, Sumarlin read as though a doctor diagnosing the patient “It’s 1.6%. That is too slow.”

Sumarlin said that this strengthens the case for an economic stimulus and the preparation necessary for such a stimulus.

The meeting ended with Try wishing Sumarlin all the best for his upcoming trip to Japan and to send his regards to Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

3rd April 1998:
The Liputan 6 Siang at SCTV ran the fallout of the latest economic figures as its headline and featured Chairman of Muhammadiyah and ICMI member Amien Rais as well as Minister of Information, Post, and Telecommunication Ginandjar Kartasasmita for an in-studio interview.

Amien said that such a low figure of economic growth is due to the government’s adherence to IMF prescription and “desperation” to look good in the eyes of the market.

Ginandjar responded that the President enjoys the confidence of the market, something which the other 3 candidates who challenged him for the presidency at the MPR Session could not. The economic situation would have been worst had it not for President Try Sutrisno.

Amien said that the government could not just live off “Things could have been worst” and that the government “needs to do more”.

The President ended his week with an intelligence briefing from Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo about the present state of the nation security-wise.

At the end of the briefing, Try asked what the prospect is security-wise if the government decides to raise the prices of fuel and electricity. Ari said that if it’s just to keep the IMF happy, he wouldn’t recommend it.

Try said that the rises will be preparation for something bigger and proceeds to talk about the planned stimulus. Ari responded that he doesn’t know anything about economics but there should be as little time as possible between the fuel and electricity price rises and the stimulus. If there is too much time between the price rises and the stimulus, that could fuel trouble, no pun intended.

4th April 1998:
President Try Sutrisno and Vice President JB Sumarlin had a meeting over lunch, the Vice President having just returned from his visit to Japan.

Sumarlin reported on his recent visit to Japan. He reports that Hashimoto had heard about Indonesia wanting to stimulate its economy from Australia and Singapore and he will put in a good word for Indonesia’s intention to both the US and the IMF. Hashimoto only hopes that the Indonesian government would not go into deficit.

Try said that he has made the decision to raise fuel and electricity prices in order to prepare for the stimulus. The question now is a matter of timing.

6th April 1998:
Try meets with Minister of Legal Affairs Albert Hasibuan today. The minister brought with him the names of candidates for the Attorney General’s position; the Attorney General now being subordinate to the Minister of Legal Affairs. The President chose to appoint Soedjono C. Atmonegoro as Attorney General.

After the Minister of Legal Affairs, Try met with Minister of Manpower and Small Business Oetojo Oesman, Minister of Education and Culture Wardiman Djojonegoro, and Minister of Female Empowerment, Youth, and Sports Khofifah Parawansa.

The three collectively reported that unemployment was a particular concern but in particular graduate unemployment because there is not enough employment in the real sector. They are requiring more funding to provide entrepreneurial education for more university graduate age students. Try said that it will be considered.

7th April 1998:
In his capacity as Chairman of the Golkar Council of Patrons, Try revoked the decision he made prior to the MPR Session to freeze the activities of Golkar’s treasury.

Try chaired a meeting attended by Vice President Sumarlin, Minister of Economics Soedradjad Djiwandono, Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad, Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi, Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono, State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo.

The results of the meeting are as follows:
*Fuel and electricity price rises: the President declared that he will be cutting subsidies of fuel and electricity, thereby rising the price of the the two commodities. He then explains that this decision is made not only of the context of fulfilling the IMF’s reforms but also to prepare for a stimulus.

*On how much subsidies to cut: Djiteng Marsudi weighed in on the decision and suggested that the emphasis of the price rises should be on fuel, with minor rises for electricity. “People can survive the fuel rises by using their car less but not using electricity will be harder”, said Djiteng. The meeting agreed with the minister.

*On the timing of the price rises: Try, Edi, and Ari ended up preferring a price rise during the school holidays in June whereupon the economists on the table began shaking their heads and saying that more damage could be done to the economy between now and then if they wait that long.

Edi and Ari still hesitated about rising the price sooner but Try said that he could see the point of going sooner. The President added that the caveat that the price increase will be subject to the crafting of the stimulus package itself because he would on the fuel subsidies and the stimulus to be announced on the same day to limit the damage to the economy by the fuel and electricity price rises.

“Good, now we just have to sell the fact that we want to do an economic stimulus to the IMF”, said Try.

9th April 1998:
The Indonesian and IMF delegations were due to meet at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) at Senayan.

That morning, President Try Sutrisno welcomed Deputy IMF Managing Director Stanley Fischer to Jakarta once again. At the photo-op session, Fischer said that Indonesia is to be commended for its commitment to the IMF Reforms and its abolition of the BPPC and Apkindo in recent times.

Behind closed doors negotiations got underway with Try appointing the trio of Sumarlin, Soedradjad Djiwandono, and Mar’ie Muhammad to negotiate on behalf of the government.

The takeaway from the first session of negotiations was that the IMF agrees “in principle” to the stimulus package but would like to see the government cut subsidies to fuel and electricity. Sumarlin said that the President is willing to commit to that, to which Fischer said that the cuts to electricity subsidies is not enough and that the price increases for electricity should equal that to fuel.

Tommy Soeharto speaking to the media throng outside of his office said that the government should be wary of falling into the hands of a “neo-colonialist plot” and not sign up to further reforms to the IMF.

When asked for his reaction, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives Sarwono commented sardonically “Tommy is an anti-colonialist? Was that before or after we abolished his clove monopoly?”

10th April 1998:
In the second day of negotiations, the IMF is playing hardball and asking why the government has not touched the IPTN yet. Sumarlin, Soedradjad and Mar’ie were shocked at the hardball tactics. The three appealed that the prime ministers of Singapore, Japan, and Australia is supportive when the President first informed them of his intention to do a stimulus package.

“Well they’ve got geopolitical considerations to consider”, Fischer said “We’re in the business of economic reform.”

Try followed the negotiations from the JCC’s VIP Lounge and became worried that the IMF would not approve of the stimulus package. It was lunchtime when Sumarlin reported progress to the President.

“Mr. President, the good news is that they approve of the stimulus package, that the stimulus package won’t take the government into deficit and cuts to fuel and electricity subsidies with an emphasis on fuel”, said Sumarlin.

“The bad news?”, asked Try.

“I think that if they’re not going to get everything they want, we better have something big to give to them so that they can go home to the United States and not get yelled at when they get to IMF Headquarters”, continued Sumarlin.

After a quick break, Sumarlin, Soedradjad and Mar’ie went back inside the negotiating room.

Try was getting coffee when he saw Minister of Trade and Investment Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti chatting amiably with some IMF officials. The President turned to his aide-de-camp Colonel Budiman and asked that he fetch the minister.

“You seem to be getting along well with them”, Try said “What is it that they want?”

“They’re fiscal conservatives, neoliberals, whatever you want to call them, Mr. President. And right now, they don’t want to go home to tell their headquarters that they just authorized a stimulus package”, Dorodjatun said “They need a sweetener.”

Try frowned that Dorodjatun's response correlates with Sumarlin's. Then rather off-handedly, he asked if there was anything in the Department of Trade and Investment that could be used to help with negotiations.

Over the next hour, Try and Dorodjatun sat down as the latter explained that what Indonesia needed at the moment was to boost its exports and earn foreign currency but that at the moment there are regulatory barriers to that.

Try took some notes, signed it and ordered his aide-de-camp to take it to the negotiating table. Sumarlin got the note and looked at it. It read:

“Mr. Vice President,

Offer them:
-Abolition of export taxes on leather, cork, ores, and waste aluminium products by 1 May.
-Reduction of export taxes on logs, sawn timber, and rattan to a maximum of 10% ad valorem by 1 August
-The present ban on palm oil exports will continue but when lifted, the export tax for this commodity would not exceed 20%
-Deregulate cashew nuts, orange, and vanilla trade by 1 January 1999.
-Phase out regional government levies still present on exported goods.
-Introduction of a bankruptcy bill.

Try Sutrisno”

11th April 1998:
President Try Sutrisno and Deputy IMF Managing Director Stanley Fischer signed off on the second amendments to the LOI agreed to in October 1997.

The amendment commits Indonesia to certain trade deregulation measures and the introduction of a bankruptcy bill. Cuts to fuel and electricity subsidies are not mentioned as they are part of the original IMF LOI. The leeway the IMF will give to the government’s stimulus package is also not mentioned as requested by the government.

13th April 1998:
Try signed off on a circular addressed to all government departments and agencies which directs them to do the following:

-Identify projects within their departments and agencies that could begin within a 0-6 months time frame.
-Such projects must be clear on the amount of employment it will create both directly and indirectly.
-The contractor of the projects must be a domestic contractor and the material used must be Indonesian.
-Submit a list of projects matching the criteria mentioned above to the State Secretariat within 2 weeks.

Okay, guys so it's an economy-centric entry.

The terms that Try put forward in the negotiations with the IMF, are some of the terms that OTL Indonesia agreed to when they signed the agreement with the IMF on 15th January 1998 (the infamous Camdessus stands over Soeharto signing ceremony).

I'm going by the assumption here that ITTL 15th January 1998 IMF Agreement is not as tough as its OTL counterpart and so Try was in a position to offer such terms.

One of the things I'm slowly introducing in this TL is that the ITTL economic situation will be taken for granted, especially by the enemies of the government (which will become mor evident over the coming updates). The government's counter would invariably be "It could have been worst".
18: Plausible Deniability
18: Plausible Deniability
14th April 1998:

Tutut spent the day at Semarang and lunched with Golkar’s Central Java Provincial Branch. At the end of the lunch, Tutut and the provincial branch chairman Alip Pandoyo fronted the press. Tutut said that she’s in Central Java to visit her sister Titiek because it is her birthday today and wanted to stop by. Alip Pandoyo said that he and Tutut spoke about Golkar matters.

15th April 1998:
President Try Sutrisno presides over the inauguration of Gen. (Ret.) Rudini as Chairman of the Supreme Advisory Council (DPA). The DPA is a constitutionally mandated institution functioning as an advisory body to the President.

Try warmly hugged and congratulated Rudini, who was his predecessor as Army Chief of Staff.

16th April 1998:
With a red beret on his head, Try attended the 45th anniversary of the Kopassus’ founding at the Kopassus Headquarters in Cijantung. He delivered the keynote address.

After all the fanfare and with the cameras trained on them, the President mingled with the Kopassus soldiers. This was a public relations exercise designed to show that the President and the Kopassus were united. From the sidelines, Edi Sudrajat watched on satisfied.

But something else piqued Edi’s attention. He saw Minister of Defense of Security Wismoyo Arismunandar, Commander of ABRI Wiranto, Army Chief of Staff Agum Gumelar, and Commander of Kopassus Luhut Panjaitan chatting with a grievous expression on their faces. When Try finished mingling with the Kopassus soldiers, the 4 officials broke their conversation and put on smiles.

17th April 1998:
The President had a three-way meeting with the Vice President and Governor of Bank Indonesia Boediono.

Boediono reported that in the present situation, the currency has stabilized around the high 4,600s low 4,700s to the dollar so this is positive development. With the currency having stabilized, this may be the right time to do banking sector reform.

Boediono added that in the months since the liquidation of the 16 banks, there has not been any reason to close down further banks. However, 54 banks, state and private-owned alike, are within Bank Indonesia’s sights. They are not in the danger zone, but they are within the hair’s breath. There is also the matter of the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI). The BLBI has been instituted 6 months ago and this liquidity assistance is at the Rp. 60 trillion mark.

Try asks Sumarlin about progress about amendments to the Banking Law. Sumarlin said that it is nearly done. The President gives further instructions that the enforcement mechanisms for the banking reform must be thought of as well.

19th April 1998:
Tutut is travelling again. This time her travels take her to West Sumatra where Governor Hasan Basri Durin, who had supported her at the MPR Session, and the West Sumatra Golkar Branch treated her to a lavish meal. Tutut and Durin said that they merely talked Golkar matters.

20th April 1998:
Minister of Trade and Invesment Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti and Minister of Industry, Research, and Technology Siswono Yudohusodo jointly announce the abolition of export taxes on leather, cork, ores, and waste aluminium products in accordance with what was agreed upon with the IMF on 10th April 1998.

Commander of Central Java Regional Command Prabowo Subianto attends the 45th Anniversary of Kopassus’ foundation held at Kopassus’ Group 2, Headquartered in Solo. Prabowo said that “The boys” wanted to hold a celebration where he could attend because he could not attend the events of the previous week. Some of the Kopassus soldiers were more blunt saying that “Jakarta had not invited Prabowo to attend.”

21st April 1998:
Luhut Panjaitan countered the claim made yesterday. He said that he was shocked that Prabowo did not want to attend the 45th Anniversary of Kopassus’ foundation and that he specifically called Prabowo to ask him to attend. Luhut said that if Prabowo could not attend, that’s his decision, but people can’t claim that Prabowo wasn’t invited because that would be a falsehood.

Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas meets with Governor of East Java Basofi Sudirman in Surabayar. Harsudiono said that the President wishes to express his apologies for the change in stance on the PDI. He knew how hard Basofi had worked to enforce Soeharto’s policy on the PDI in East Java. Basofi said that he’s there to implement the President’s policy, whoever the President is and whatever the policy is.

22nd April 1998:
Try had lunch with Chairman of the DPR Harmoko. Harmoko said that in the aftermath of the cabinet announcement, two DPR seats had become vacant: one Golkar seat formerly belonging to Albert Hasibuan, one PPP seat formerly belonging to Khofifah Indar Parawansa.

The President responded that the Minister of Home Affairs had consulted with the PPP. The name that came up to take up Khofifah’s seat is Matori Abdul Djalil and that he approved of the name. Harmoko said that it was a good pick because Matori was friendly towards Try’s government.

For the vacant Golkar seat, The President said that the Minister of Home Affairs had talked to Harmoko in the latter’s capacity as Chairman of Golkar and had recommended Hartono’s name. Harmoko asked Try if that is a wise recommendation since Hartono had been very active in trying to prevent the President’s re-election at the MPR Session.

“I’m keeping my enemies even closer, Mr. Chairman”, said Try “At the very least show Tutut that I’m not hostile towards her or her allies. We are all still Golkar members after all.”

Harmoko reluctantly approves.

Harmoko then brought up Tutut’s visits to Central Java and West Sumatra in recent times. He told Try to be careful because Tutut is preparing to strike back. Try asked what Harmoko meant by that.

“The Golkar National Congress is due in 6 months’ time, Mr. President”, said Harmoko “You can bet that she’s going to go after the chairmanship at that congress and that she’s going to clock up a lot of travel around Indonesia to build up support by that time.”

23rd April 1998:
President Try Sutrisno today swore in Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Soegiarto as Chairman of the Comprehension and Implementation of Pancasila Guideline Educational Guidance and Implementation Agency (BP-7). The Chairman of BP-7 is responsible for ideological matters and is responsible for administering the government’s ideological training program (P4).

Try and Soegiarto shared the common bond of being the first of their generation of officers to reach the rank of brigadier general. Soegiarto went on to become ABRI Socio-Political Affairs Chief of Staff (1987-1988), Minister of Transmigration (1988-1993), and Vice Chairman of the DPA (1993-1998).

24th April 1998:
Try chaired an internal meeting attended by State Secretary Edi Sudrajat, Cabinet Secretary Hayono Isman, Military Secretary Mardiyanto, Presidential Secretary Soedjoko, and Secretary of Operational Control of Development Sugeng Subroto.

The President said that for the next week, he would like to concentrate on matters relating to the stimulus. Unless there is a grave emergency that needs attending, he would like economic and/or stimulus-related matters to be in his “in” tray.

“I’m going to need your assistance, Mr. State Secretary, to keep an eye on the non-economic and stimulus issues”, Try said to Edi.

26th April 1998:
President Try Sutrisno and First Lady Tuti Setiawati today attended the wedding ceremony and reception of Ms. Puan Maharani, the daughter of Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri and Mr. Taufiq Kiemas.

When he was leaving the reception, the President was seen off by Megawati. Try smiled and waved to the camera as he got into the Presidential Car and left. Megawati was then crowded by the press.

“I wholeheartedly support President Try Sutrisno and feel that it is our duty as Indonesians to support him in addressing the economic crisis”, Megawati said.

27th April-1st May 1998:
Two weeks has passed since the President issued a circular asking for all government departments and agencies to identify projects which can start in the 0-6 month range. The departments and agencies have more than adhered to this request, flooding the State Secretariat with proposed projects and iniatives. There were varying levels of speculation that the President was planning something in government ranks. Some departments and agencies were predicting a stimulus while others thought that with the economy having performed better, some adjustments in the budget were possible.

The President made good on his intention to focus on the stimulus. He spent his day poring over proposals, reports, and funding requests. He was most often accompanied by Hayono Isman and Sugeng Subroto during this time. Evenings were spent in meetings with Minister of Economics and National Development Soedrajad Djiwandono and Minister of Finance Mar’ie Muhammad to discuss the likely economic and fiscal impact of these projects.

The President also met with Minister of Mining and Energy Djiteng Marsudi to discuss various fuel prices rise scenarios and finalize the amount of fuel price rice to be agreed on.

28th April 1998:
Tutut led the Soeharto family in paying their respects to their mother Hartinah Soeharto; this being the two year anniversary of Hartinah’s death. Because of where Soeharto’s tomb was situated (immediately next to Hartinah’s), this became an occasion where the family also paid their respects to Soeharto also.

29th April 1998:
Edi Sudrajat received a call from Minister of Defense and Security Wismoyo Arismunandar asking for an appointment with the President. Edi said that the President is busy working on the stimulus package. Wismoyo asked if he can meet with Edi instead. Edi agrees.

“Do you remember how during the Kopassus’ foundation anniversary, Wiranto, Agum, Luhut and I were off talking among ourselves when the President was mingling with the soldiers”, asked Wismoyo.

“Yeah, what was all that about?” Edi asked, his interest piqued “You weren’t plotting a coup against the President, I hope.”

Wismoyo did not appreciate the joke and looked at Edi grievously. He then told Edi about what he was discussing with Wiranto, Agum, and Luhut.

“Oh dear God”, Edi said in response.

“At this point in time, Luhut is conducting an internal investigation; we want to establish timelines, when and what orders are given, and so on”, Wismoyo said “Most importantly we want to make sure of the whereabouts of the ones that are missing. The ones we have in our custody we can just release, but the ones that are missing…we’ve got to make sure where there are first as well.”

Edi is quiet. Not believing what he is hearing.

30th April 1998:
At night, Edi assembled Minister of Home Affairs Harsudiono Hartas and Chief of BAKIN Ari Sudewo for a meeting. Harsudiono and Ari asked where the President and Sugeng Subroto were. Edi said that they are busy working on the stimulus so for the moment, it would be just the three of them. Edi then proceeded to explain what he just heard from Wismoyo the previous day.

Harsudiono massaged his scalp while Ari only shook his head.

“So that’s where they went”, Ari said to himself before explaining that he had received intelligence chatter about families of activists looking around for their missing family members. These families are suspicious that the state had something to do with their missing family members so they haven’t reported anything to the authorities.

“What does Wismoyo recommend?” asked Harsudiono.

“The advice coming up the chain of command from the Army Chief of Staff, the Commander of ABRI, and the Minister of Defense and Security is that Luhut should be allowed to complete his internal investigation at Kopasssus; at least until most of the facts are gathered. Then we can take this matter to the President”, said Edi.

“That advice is prudent”, Harsudiono said.

“Hang on, we’re not going to report this to the President?” asked Ari “I know he’s busy but surely this warrants his attention.”

“Until Luhut completes his investigation, we have to give the President plausible deniability”, Harsudiono said “At this stage, the President doesn’t know that all of this has happened. If we let him know now, he’ll be compelled to take action. But he’s going to be compelled to take action without all the facts. So it’s best he doesn’t know yet.”

1st May 1998:
The President finally called it a day at 11.45 PM. His mood was great.

“The stimulus package is all ready, the fuel price rise is ready”, Try said before ordering Edi to set a cabinet meeting for first thing Monday morning.

Edi looked at the President’s good mood and felt dejected. He knew that he would have to break the bad news of the kidnappings soon.