Amid Southeast Asia’s Slide, Indonesia’s Importance Grows

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After emerging from decades of single-party rule in 1998, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has become a symbol of freedom in a region that recently has been slowly sliding away from democracy. Today, Indonesia’s story is that of reformasi, or a spirit of reform. After enduring a troubled, violent separation, the culturally distinct province of East Timor is now free. The insurgent Free Aceh Movement has signed a cease-fire with the central government. And, in 2004, the country’s first direct presidential election brought Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono into office. This year, Freedom House upgraded Indonesia from “Partly Free” to […]

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