ad info

 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

NOVEMBER 5, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 44

The Fight for Megawati
Behind the scenes of the v.p. election

It was 5 p.m. on Oct. 20. Abdurrahman Wahid, elected president of Indonesia by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) just hours earlier, was headed to his temporary lodgings at the State Guest House when he changed course for the home of his defeated rival, Megawati Sukarnoputri. There, Wahid told her he wanted her to be vice president. Megawati was reluctant. She had been stunned by her loss in the presidential race, and had felt betrayed by her longtime friend Wahid. She told him she would feel humiliated to run for the No. 2 spot. And, she added, imagine the anger of her followers - already rioting over her defeat - if she lost the vote for v.p. as well.

Indonesia: Unity in Diversity?
Maybe the all-inclusive new government will work. It had better
Call 'Em Wahidisms Quotations: The world according to Gus Dur
Is He Strong Enough? Wahid's health raises concerns
The Fight for Megawati Behind the scenes of the V.P. election
'East Timor Is a Tough Job' Australia's Downer on relations with Asia

ASEAN: An Indochinese Caucus After a conclave in Vientiane, fears of a split

Malaysia: Now, the Sinatra Principle 'We all did it our own way,' croons Mahathir
The Maps to Power Voting districts lay a confusing quilt
Trial by Dirt Anwar's claims fill the court and the media

The Philippines: 'My Ratings Are Down!' Estrada is moving into damage control

Viewpoint: Beyond Groundhog Day Is this Pyongyang's last chance to end the false starts?

Cover: Maneuvering to the Top
In a dramatic twist, Abdurrahman Wahid becomes Indonesia's leader. Can he rule?

Indonesia: The Road To Rejection The events surrounding Habibie's fall

Battle For Balance Wahid's mediation allowed the Big Three to bridge basic differences

East Timor: 'This Was Systematic' In East Timor, a trail of death and destruction

Breaking news from Southeast Asia

Around 10 p.m., after Wahid's inauguration, Megawati met the top aides in her Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). She explained her reluctance to run for v.p. As they talked, news trickled in. The home of a relative of MPR chairman Amien Rais had been burned by PDI-P supporters. The former ruling party, Golkar, was leaning toward nominating its chairman Akbar Tandjung for v.p. Wahid's National Awakening Party (PKB) would nominate Megawati. Her aides went to see PKB deputy leader Alwi Shihab. Was he serious? Shihab answered, not only was PKB serious, it would lobby its allies in the Center Axis group of Muslim-oriented parties.

Meanwhile, Golkar met late into the night. The party was split between supporters of Tandjung and of armed forces chief Gen. Wiranto, mostly loyalists of former president B.J. Habibie. Tandjung carried a 3 a.m. vote, but senior member Marwah Daud Ibrahim bolted. Gathering allies, she joined forces with a faction of minor Islamic parties to nominate Wiranto.

As the new day dawned, Tandjung went to see Wahid at the State Guest House, and was surprised to see Wiranto there as well. The president said he was concerned about the popular reaction if Megawati did not get the vice presidency. Akbar and Wiranto had little choice but to withdraw from the race. Some extra political hardball perhaps helped their decisions. Tandjung was told that if he ran, PDI-P would throw its weight behind Wiranto. And Wiranto may have been disturbed when Wahid, as if in jest, dropped the names of two of the general's main rivals in the military's internal politics.

At 10:30 a.m., the MPR was scheduled to elect the vice president, but assembly chairman and Center Axis architect Rais delayed the vote until mid-afternoon. At 11 a.m., Wahid again met Megawati. He told her that Tandjung and Wiranto would pull out, while Hamzah Haz of the Muslim-based United Development Party was running to please his supporters and promote competition. After Wahid left, prominent businesswoman Siti Hartati Murdaya told her she would be unwise to refuse. The economy would never recover if the rioting continued. Megawati saw that her path was set.

At 6 p.m. on Oct. 21, the MPR voted to name Megawati vice president, calming the streets and cheering the financial markets. "This was a very beautiful game," said MPR chairman Rais. "It will make me able to sleep well tonight." No doubt he needed it.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


Quick Scroll: More stories and related stories
Asiaweek Newsmap: Get the week's leading news stories, by region, from Newsmap


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.