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SOEHARTO, A CHRONOLOGY

JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) -- Indonesian President Suharto is facing the biggest challenge of his 32-year rule after the worst riots in the capital in decades.
Following are key dates in Soeharto's long, autocratic rule:

  • September 30, 1965 -- Six senior army generals killed in what is later called an abortive communist coup. Major-General Suharto takes command and crushes coup attempt, leading to purges of suspected communists. As many as 500,000 people are killed, primarily in communal violence, between October 1965 and early 1966.
  • March 11, 1966 -- Executive power transferred from Sukarno to Suharto.
  • March 12, 1966 -- Suharto bans the Communist Party of Indonesia.
  • March 21, 1967 -- Suharto formally named acting president by    appointed People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). Formally elected president a year later.
  • March, 1973 -- Suharto appointed unopposed for second five-year term by MPR. Re-appointed in 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993 and 1998 by the MPR. The ruling Golkar, an association of "functional groups" organized by the army in 1964, comfortably wins on each occasion.
  • December, 1975 -- Indonesian troops, with tacit Western backing, invade former Portuguese colony of East Timor, annexed as the country's 27th province in 1976 in a move never recognized by the United Nations.
  • November, 1991 -- Indonesian troops fire on mourners in a Dili cemetery killing scores and condemned worldwide.
  • June, 1994 -- Government bans three leading publications in crackdown on press freedom.
  • June 20, 1996 -- Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Sukarno, ousted from PDI leadership by a government-backed faction.
  • July 8, 1997 -- The rupiah starts to crumble.
  • August 14, 1997 -- Jakarta abolishes managed exchange rate system. The rupiah sinks further.
  • October 6, 1997 -- Rupiah hits a low of 3,845.
  • October 8, 1997 -- Indonesia says it will ask the IMF for financial help.
  • October 31, 1997 -- Indonesia's IMF package unveiled. It orchestrates a bailout of more than $40 billion in aid, although front-line defense is $23 billion.
  • November 5, 1997 -- IMF approves a $10-billion loan for Indonesia as part of the international package.
  • January 6, 1998 -- Indonesia's 1998/99 budget contains optimistic forecast. The rupiah loses half its value over five days, breaking 10,000 per dollar.
  • January 15, 1998 -- Suharto and IMF chief Michel Camdessus sign an agreement strengthening economic reforms.
  • January 22, 1998 -- Rupiah collapses a week after the IMF package shows no signs of easing Indonesia's debt crisis.
  • January 27, 1998 -- Indonesia announces a temporary freeze on debt servicing but says it is not a moratorium as companies with dollars can pay creditors.
  • February 9, 1998 -- Suharto says he will announce new steps on the rupiah's exchange rate -- the first hint a fixed currency system might be implemented. Riots over rising food prices worsens. Police warn they will shoot rioters on sight. At least five people die in January-February rioting.
  • February 17, 1998 -- Suharto fires central bank governor Soedradjad Djiwandono for opposing the currency board proposal. Replaced by U.S.-trained economist Sjahril Sabirin.
  • March 10, 1998 -- Suharto re-elected unopposed to a seventh five-year term.
  • March 11, 1998 -- Suharto sworn in. He says the nation must tighten belt but offers no specific measures. Student protests break out across the nation.
  • March 14, 1998 -- Suharto announces new Cabinet, which includes his eldest daughter and several political and business associates of the First Family.
  • March 23, 1998 -- Bank Indonesia sharply raises key interest rates and government abruptly cancels foreign currency purchase tax, announced days earlier, in line with IMF requests.
  • April 16, 1998 -- Thousands of students hold campus protests, calling Suharto the "cause of all disasters."
  • May 1, 1998 -- Despite mounting unrest, Suharto says constitutionally that political reform cannot come before 2003.
  • May 4, 1998 -- Indonesia raises fuel prices by up to 71 percent effective from midnight and electricity prices throughout May. Three days of riots break out in North Sumatran capital of Medan in which at least six people reported dead. Armed forces chief General Wiranto warns students of "stern action" against protests which move off campus.
  • May 12, 1998 -- Six students are shot and killed during clashes with police in Jakarta, the first students to die in three-months of demonstrations.
  • May 14, 1998 -- Suharto says any changes must be through constitutional means. Chaos reigns. Mobs attack and damage buildings linked to firms controlled by Suharto's family and friends. Rupiah dives below 11,500 to the dollar.
  • May 15, 1998 -- Suharto returns from Egypt a day early and orders his ministers to act against rioters. Suharto cuts back some of the oil price rises.
  • May 16, 1998 -- Suharto pledges to reshuffle his Cabinet soon. Hundreds of international visitors flee Jakarta in the first mass evacuation as protests intensify. Latest estimates say more than 500 people killed in a week of rioting and looting in Jakarta.
  • May 18, 1998 -- Parliamentary Speaker Harmoko, a close associate of the president, calls on Suharto to step down.




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