February 22

This Day in History

General Interest

Feb 22, 1967:

Suharto takes full power in Indonesia

On February 22, 1967, Indonesian President Sukarno surrenders all executive authority to military dictator General Haji Mohammad Suharto, remaining president in title only.

In 1965, Suharto, a senior army officer, narrowly saved Sukarno from a communist coup. In the aftermath, he moved to replace Sukarno and launched a purge of Indonesian communists that resulted in thousands of deaths. In 1967, he assumed full power and in 1968 was elected president. Reelected every five years until his forced resignation in 1998, Suharto stabilized his nation and oversaw significant economic progress. However, he was criticized for his repressive rule and for Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor, which left an estimated 100,000 Timorese dead from famine, disease, and warfare. Today, Suharto lives in virtual seclusion.

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