Who Is B.J. Habibie?

Suharto finds a clever way to step aside, but few trust his loyal crony to carry out reform

How do you take power from an autocrat who for 32 years has ruthlessly put down all challenges to his rule? Sometimes, as Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie showed in Indonesia last week, by pretending until the very last minute not to want it. Habibie had been slipped into the No. 2 position of Vice President only 10 weeks ago by his patron of 24 years, the Indonesian strongman he slavishly referred to as S.G.S., Supergenius Suharto. The mere suggestion that Suharto's successor at the height of Indonesia's search for an economic bailout would be a man widely regarded as a free-spending eccentric...

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