The ‘Adopted Son’ and Successor Begins to Shape Suharto’s Legacy

WASHINGTON — Indonesia’s strongman Suharto was many things to many people. As the debate rages over Suharto’s mixed legacy, he was ultimately an enigma to his protégé, vice president and successor Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie. When Suharto was forced to resign on May 21, 1998, after 32 years at the helm, he did not say a word to Habibie. They had once been close. Habibie had nicknamed his mentor “SGS” — “super genius Suharto” — to gain his favor. Suharto, a devotee of mysticism, was drawn to Habibie’s preacher-seer father whom he met quite by chance as a young military officer […]

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