Indonesia Briefing

Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Indonesia


1670-1900- Indonesia ruled by the Netherlands as the Dutch East Indies.

1942- Japan invades Dutch East Indies.

1945- Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo, declares independence triggering armed conflict with Dutch forces.

1949- The Netherlands gives up the fight and recognizes Indonesian independence.

1950s- Maluku wages an unsuccessful war to secede from Indonesia.

1962- The Dutch agree to transfer West Papua to Indonesian control.

1965- A failed coup is attributed to Communist factions within Indonesia, resulting in purges where thousands are killed.

1967- General Suharto becomes president after being granted emergency powers in 1966.

1975- Portugal grants independence to East Timor.

1976- Indonesia invades East Timor and incorporates it as a province.

1997- Asian currency crisis creates economic havoc in Indonesia, the rupiah is devalued.

1998- Protests and rioting topple Suharto.

1999- Free elections are held throughout Indonesia; East Timor referendum produces a pro-independence vote, resulting in widespread government-organized violence on the island.

2001- Parliament dismisses President Wahid over corruption charges, Megawati Sukarnoputri is sworn in as a replacement.

2002- Constitution is reformed to allow for direct election of president and vice president; Bali attacks kill 202 people.

2004- Parliamentary elections produce a victory for Suharto’s Golkar Party; Former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Democratic Party is elected president; Tsunami kills more than 220,000 people.

2005- Government signs a peace deal with the Free Aceh movement.

2007- Police capture Zarkasih, the alleged head of Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

2008- Suharto dies.

2009- President Yudhoyono secures re-election in a resounding victory at the polls.

2010- Several JI training camps are raided, producing 14 high-profile arrests; Police kill Dulmatin, the final suspect in the Bali bombings; President Obama visits Indonesia, praising the country as a positive example of diversity and democracy.

2011- Two churches are burned down in central Java during Muslim anti-blasphemy protests.


Indonesia has a democratic, presidential system where the president and vice president serve five-year terms. The legislative branch, called the ‘Majelis Permusyawartan Rakyat (MPR) is a bicameral house that has the power to impeach the president. All this is overseen by a judiciary staffed with judges that have been appointed by the president.

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