by SAM ABRAMS
Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid died Wednesday in Jakarta. President from 1999 to 2001, he succeeded Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie who himself replaced long-time strongman Suharto in 1998. Wahid was Indonesia’s president to compete in open elections in more than a generation. Known affectionately as “Gus Dur,” Wahid is being remembered for his “vision of a true pluralist Indonesia.” This despite Wahid’s short term which ended with in a vote of no-confidence amid accusations of incompetence and corruption.
The Sydney Morning Herald said Wahid “deepened Indonesia’s fragile new democracy. He fathered a strand of faith and liberalism that continues to battle authoritarian and sectarian tendencies.”
The White House cited Wahid’s “commitment to democratic principles, inclusive politics and religious tolerance.” Current Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono led a state funeral this morning, and vigils and prayer gatherings are being held around the country.