Since the proclamation of independence from Japanese occupation forces on 17 August 1945, Indonesia has been quite active in international affairs. This is in accordance with its constitution which required an active non aligning foreign policy.
In 1955, Indonesia became the host to a conference that aimed to unite new Asia and African countries. And in the early ‘60s it became a co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement together with Yugoslavia, Egypt and India.
Around 80% of its population is Moslems; most of them are moderate Sunni. And the other officially recognized religious are: Protestants, Catholics, Hindu, Buddha and Confucius. Indonesia adopted the presidential system, and Soekarno was the first president.
The first general election was held in 1955, won by the National Party, two Islamic parties as No: 2 (Masyumi) and No: 3 (MU), and the Communist Party as No: 4.
On 30 September 1965, six Army generals and one officer were brutally killed by a mysterious group of people. The Army, lead by General Soeharto, blamed the Communist for the killing. On 11 March 1966, the Army forced President Soekarno to hand over most of his power to General Soeharto. One year later, Soeharto became acting President, and in 1968 he became president.
Soeharto ruled using iron fists back by the military forces, whereby opposition were not allowed and crushed.
In 1971, the second general election was held, won by the pro-military Golkar Party, the remaining 10 other parties were forced to merge into 2 parties: an Islamic based party and a nationalist based party.
Majority members of the parliament were elected in general elections, and more than 15% of members were appointed military representatives and a few others.
General elections in 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, were won by the ruling party. The 1997 world financial crisis. On 21 May 1998, people movement forced Soeharto to step down from his power, and replaced by his Vice President Habibie.
In 1999, the first full democratic general election was held, and the parliament elected Abdurrahman Wahid as President. In 2001, Wahid was replaced by Vice President Megawati who became the first woman president.
In 2004 the first direct president election was held won by General Susilo Bambang Yudoyono. In 2009 Yudoyono won more than 60% of the votes.
Unfortunately Yudoyono’s political party only won 25% of the seats in parliament, so he must rely on five coalition partners i.e the Golkar Party and four Islamic based parties.
In spite of the several suicide bomb attacks by few radical groups who claimed to be fighting in the name of Islam in the Island of Bali and Jakarta (the capital city), and few local inter-religious disputes, however the overall condition is quite safe. This can be seen from the fact that its economy is growing quite healthily attracting foreign investors and tourist to come to Indonesia.
The writer Harry Nizam is an Indonesian blogger who can be reached at the following sites : http://www.multibrando.biz/