Indonesia's Hundred Flowers

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Week 2 without Suharto, and Indonesia’s political woodwork is teeming: President B.J. Habibie announced today that new elections will be held in 1999, as the capital was seized by political ferment and market jitters over indications that the IMF may rethink the country’s bailout package. “The atmosphere in Jakarta is similar to that in East Berlin after the wall came down in 1989,” says TIME correspondent David Liebhold. “Political prisoners are being released, new political parties are being set up almost daily and questionable business deals are being struck down.”

In the first move against the assets of the Suharto elite, a bank owned by associates of the former president was taken over by the Central Bank today as worried investors tried to bolt the institution.

Despite the political ferment, the country’s real power remains with the military -- the institution that holds together the diverse Indonesian archipelago. Today the nation’s commanders began reviewing a report by 32 generals setting out the armed forces’ agenda for political reform. For now, at least, that document will provide the unfolding drama with something approximating a script.