Indonesia's President Habibie -- Who Is He?

May 29, 1998


When the Indonesian dictator Suharto resigned last week, he handed over the Presidency to his hand-picked successor — vice-president B.J. Habibie. Habibie has been described as almost a son to Suharto — in his autobiography, Suharto wrote that Habibie "regards me as his own parent. He always asks for my guidance and takes down notes of [my] philosophy." This week’s Time magazine profile of Habibie notes his "slavish" devotion to the man he called S.G.S. — "Supergenius Suharto." While most media accounts portray Habibie as Suharto’s man, we’ll take a closer look at the sitting Indonesian president, away from the glare of his mentor.


  • Jeff Winters, is a professor of political economy at Northwestern University. He has been studying Indonesia for 18 years. He just returned from Jakarta in April.