Indonesia has six presidents since its independence was declared in 1945. Here are their brief profiles.
1. Soekarno (in office 18 August 1945 – 19 December 1948; 13 July 1949 – 27 December 1949; 15 August 1950 – 22 February 1967)
Soekarno studied architecture, civil engineering and was one of the first graduate in ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology). He proclaimed independence of Indonesia on 17 August 1945 and made concept of Pancasila (five principles of the nation). He was a truly nationalist having a slogan “stand on own feet”. He opposed imperialism, capitalism and said to developed countries “Go to hell with your aid !”. Soekarno also supported Asian and African countries to reach independence by organizing Bandung Conference in 1955. His political philosophy was mainly a fuse of elements of Marxism, nationalism and Islam. A rebellion and army force led him out of office. True stories behind removal of his power remain unclear and secret.
After studying aerospace engineering in RWTH Aachen and working in Germany, in 1974 he established a national aviation industry. Habibie succeeded in flying a N-250 commuter plane in 1995. He was a vice president and replaced Soeharto’s position in 1998. His Government stabilized the economy after the chaos which went through in the Asian Financial Crisis. Habibie surprised everyone by announcing a referendum in East Timor, choosing between special autonomy and independence. His accountability speech was finally rejected. Now he spends most of his time as a researcher in the same country as he got doctoral degree.
Wahid completed his education at the University of Baghdad in 1970. He was well-known as a figure in Nahdlatul Ulama, a largest Indonesian independent Islamic organization. He was elected as a president in 1999 after winning a vote in representative council. He made the announcement that Chinese New Year was to become an optional holiday and lifted the ban on the display of Chinese characters and the importations of Chinese publication. In March 2001 he tried to counter the opposition by moving against dissidents within his own Cabinet. The People’s Consultative Assembly unanimously voted to impeach Wahid and to replace him with Megawati as President in July 2001.
Megawati is a daughter of Soekarno and began her political career as a People’s Representative Council member. She became the first Indonesian woman President when Wahid was removed from office in 2001. She ran for re-election in the 2004 presidential election, but was defeated by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the second round. She leads an opposition party against the current government.
Yudhoyono graduated from Military Academy in 1973 as the best graduate of the year. He also studied in the United States, where he received his Masters degree in Management from Webster University in 1991 and earned his PhD in agricultural economics from the Bogor Agricultural Institute. After his military career, he was appointed as a minister. In 2001, he founded his own party which nominated him as a president candidate. He was the first directly elected president of Indonesia in 2004. He ran for re-election in 2009 with Boediono as his running mate, and won with an outright majority of the votes in the first round of balloting.