Megawati’s calm efficiency
The aura of calm efficiency surrounding the new Indonesian administration of president Megawati Soekarnoputri has come as a relief to most Indonesians. After nearly four years of riots, coup rumours, unpredictable policymaking and political infighting, a rest is as good as a holiday.
Behind the scenes there is considerable activity to lay the foundations of a well-run government. The president has appointed a cabinet of respected professionals. A new letter of intent has been signed with the IMF. In a move that will restore stability to regional politics, the president has visited all Indonesia's neighbours and received Australia's premier.
The military, whose support was crucial to her smooth takeover, says it is willing to pull out of politics, and the president says any official doing business with members of her family will be fired. The currency, has leapt more than 30% and a crucial debt rescheduling with the Paris Club is likely to go through smoothly following restoration of relations with the IMF.