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Top 10 Greatest Indonesian Politicians

The following people are considered by the World Pantheon to be among the top 10 greatest Indonesian politicians of all time. This list of famous Indonesian politicians is ranked by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on the online popularity of biographies. To see a complete list of Indonesian politicians, visit the rankings page.

1. Sukarno (1901 - 1970)

With an HPI of 73.20, Sukarno is the best-known Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 94 different languages on Wikipedia.

Sukarno (born Kosno Sosrodihardjo, Javanese: [kʊsnɔ]; 6 June 1901 – 21 June 1970) was an Indonesian politician, orator, revolutionary and nationalist who was the first President of Indonesia, serving from 1945 to 1967. Sukarno was the leader. Indonesian struggle for independence from Dutch colonialists. He was a prominent leader of Indonesia's nationalist movement during the colonial period and spent more than a decade in Dutch custody until being released by the invading Japanese forces in World War II. Sukarno and his fellow nationalists collaborated to garner support for the Japanese war effort from the population in exchange for Japanese assistance in spreading nationalist ideas. Upon the Japanese surrender, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared Indonesian independence on 17 August 1945, and Sukarno was appointed president. He led Indonesian resistance to Dutch re-colonization efforts through diplomatic and military means until Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence in 1949. Author Pramodya Anant Toor once wrote, "Sukarno was the only Asian leader of the modern era who was able to unite people of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and fragmented countries without shedding a drop of blood. 1960s In early 1965, Sukarno launched a series of aggressive foreign policies under the slogan of anti-imperialism and personally supported the Non-Aligned Movement. These developments led to increasing friction with the West and closer ties with the USSR. 30 September 1965 Following the events surrounding the movement, military general Suharto took control of the country in a largely Western-backed military coup of a government led by Sukarno. This was followed by a crackdown on real and perceived leftists, including the CIA and British intelligence services. Many of the massacres included executions of Communist Party members and suspected sympathizers, resulting in an estimated 500,000 to over 1,000,000 deaths. In 1967, Suharto officially assumed the presidency, Suk Karno, who remained under house arrest until his death in 1970.

2. Suharto (1921 - 2008)

With an HPI of 71.78, Suharto is the second most popular Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 96 different languages.

Suharto (; Indonesian pronunciation; 8 June 1921 – 27 January 2008) was an Indonesian army officer and politician who served as the second and longest-serving President of Indonesia. Widely regarded by international observers as a military dictator, Suharto led Indonesia through a dictatorship for 31 years, from the fall of Sukarno in 1967 until his own resignation in 1998. The legacy of his 31-year rule, and his US$38 billion net worth, are still debated at home and abroad. Suharto was born in the small village of Kemusuk in the Godian region near the city of Yogyakarta during the Dutch colonial era. He grew up in humble circumstances. His Javanese Muslim parents were divorced shortly after his birth, and he lived with foster parents for most of his childhood. During the Japanese occupation era, Suharto served in the Japanese-organized Indonesian security forces. During the Indonesian War of Independence, he joined the newly formed Indonesian Army. There, Suharto rose to the rank of major general shortly after gaining full Indonesian independence. On 30 September and 1 October 1965, the coup attempt was countered by troops led by Suharto. According to the official history maintained by the military, the effort was supported by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). The army subsequently led a nationwide violent anti-communist purge, and Suharto seized power from Indonesia's founding president, Sukarno. He was appointed Acting President in 1967 and was elected President the following year. He then launched a social campaign called "de-Sukarnoization" to reduce the influence of the former president. Support for Suharto's presidency was active in the 1970s and 1980s. By the 1990s, the new order's growing authoritarianism and widespread corruption were a source of discontent and following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which led to widespread unrest, he resigned in May 1998. Suharto died in January 2008 and was given a state funeral. Under his "New Order" administration, Suharto created a strong, centralized and military-dominated government. What began as an aristocratic military dictatorship evolved into a personal totalitarian regime centered around Suharto. An ability to maintain stability over a vast and diverse Indonesia and an anti-communist stance earned him the economic and diplomatic support of the West during the Cold War. For most of his presidency, Indonesia experienced significant industrialization, economic growth, and improved levels of educational attainment. A plan to grant national hero status to Suharto is being considered by the Indonesian government and has been hotly debated in Indonesia. According to Transparency International, Suharto was one of the most corrupt leaders in modern history, having allegedly embezzled US$15–35 billion during his rule.

3. BJ Habibi (1936 - 2019)

With an HPI of 63.29, BJ Habibie is the third most famous politician in Indonesia. His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.

Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie (Indonesian: [baxaˈrudˈin ˈjusuf haˈbibi] ( listen); 25 June 1936 – 11 September 2019) was an Indonesian engineer and politician who was the third President of Indonesia from 1998 to 1999. The seventh vice president in March 1998, he replaced Suharto who resigned after 31 years in office. His presidency was seen as a milestone and a transition into the reform era. Upon becoming president, he liberalized Indonesia's press and political party laws, and held an early democratic election three years ahead of schedule, resulting in the end of his presidency. His presidency of 517 days and vice presidency of 71 days was the shortest term in the country's history.

4. Joko Widodo (1961 - )

With an HPI of 63.22, Joko Widodo is the fourth most famous Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 96 different languages.

Joko Widodo (Indonesian: [dʒɔɔ widɔdɔ]; born 21 June 1961), popularly known as Jokowi, is an Indonesian politician and businessman who is the 7th and current President of Indonesia. Elected in July 2014, he was the first Indonesian president who did not come from a distinguished political or military background. He was previously the Mayor of Surakarta from 2005 to 2012 and the Governor of Jakarta from 2012 to 2014. Prior to his political career, he was an industrialist and businessman. He gained national prominence in 2009 for his work as mayor of Surakarta. A member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), he was nominated as the party's candidate for the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election, with Basuki Tjaha Purnama (often referred to as Ahok) as his running mate. Stay as a partner. Defeating incumbent military leader Bovo, he took office in October 2012 and reinvigorated Jakarta's politics, introducing publicized Bluesukan visits (unannounced spot checks) and reforming the city's bureaucracy, reducing corruption in the process. He also initiated several years of programs to improve the quality of life, including universal healthcare, dredging the city's main river to reduce flooding, and inaugurating the construction of the city's metro system. The PDI-P nominated Jokowi as its candidate in the 2014 presidential election. , Winning a majority of the popular vote, he was named President-elect on 22 July 2014, much to the opposition of his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, who disputed the result and withdrew from the race before the count was completed. As president, Jokowi has primarily focused on infrastructure, starting or restarting long-delayed programs to improve connectivity in the Indonesian archipelago. On foreign policy, his administration has emphasized "protecting Indonesia's sovereignty", with the sinking of illegal foreign fishing vessels and the setting of the death penalty for drug traffickers a priority. The latter was despite intense representations and diplomatic opposition from foreign powers, including Australia and France. He was re-elected for a second five-year term in 2019, again defeating Prabowo Subianto.

5. Megawati Sukarnoputri (1947 - )

With an HPI of 63.16, Megawati Sukarnoputri is the 5th most famous Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.

Diya Paramata Megawati Setiawati Sukarnoputri (Indonesian: [meɡawati sukarnɔputri] (listen); born 23 January 1947) is an Indonesian politician who served as the fifth President of Indonesia from 2001 to 2004. He previously served as the eighth Vice President from 1999 to 2001. Megawati is the first female president of Indonesia and the sixth woman to lead the Muslim-majority country. She is also the first Indonesian President and, as of 2021, the only Vice President born since Indonesia declared its independence in 1945. After serving as Abdurrahman Wahid's vice president, Megawati became president when Wahid was removed from office in 2001. Was re-elected in the 2004 presidential election, but was defeated by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. She stood again in the 2009 presidential election, but was defeated for a second term by Yudhoyono. She is the first and current (as of 2021) leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), one of the largest political parties in Indonesia. She is the eldest daughter of Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia.

6. Abdurrahman Wahid (1940 - 2009)

With an HPI of 62.06, Abdurrahman Wahid is the 6th most famous Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 59 different languages.

Abdurrahman Wahid ( ( listen) AHB-doo-rakh-mah Wah-heed; born Abdurrahman Ad-dakhil; 7 September 1940 – 30 December 2009), although more colloquially known as Gus Dur ( listen), was an Indonesian politician and Islamic religious leader who served as the fourth President of Indonesia from his election in 1999 until his removal from power in 2001. A long-time leader within the Nahdalatul Ulama organization, he was the founder of the Rashtriya Jagruti Party (PKB). He was the son of Minister of Religious Affairs Wahid Hasim and grandson of Nahdatul Ulama founder Hasim Asyari. He was blind due to glaucoma. He was blind in his left eye and partially blind in his right eye. He was the first and until 2022 the only President of Indonesia to have a physical disability. His popular nickname 'Gus Dur' is derived from Gus, a common honorific for Kayai's son, and a shortened form of bagus ('handsome boy' in Javanese); and away, the abbreviated form of his name, Abdurrahman.

7. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (1949 - )

With an HPI of 61.50, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the 7th hottest Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 75 different languages.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (born 9 September 1949), commonly referred to by his initials SBY, is an Indonesian politician and retired army general who served as the sixth President of Indonesia from 2004 to 2014. A member of the Democratic Party of Indonesia, he served as the 4th Leader of the Democratic Party from 2014 to 2020, as Indonesia's 8th and 10th Coordinating Minister of Politics and Security Affairs from 2000 to 2001, and again from 2001 to 2004 . He also served as Speaker and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Council of the Global Green Growth Institute. He was also the former chair of ASEAN due to Indonesia hosting the 18th and 19th ASEAN summits. Yudhoyono won the 2004 presidential election – the first direct presidential election in Indonesia, defeating the incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri. He took the oath of office on 20 October 2004 with Jusuf Kalla as Vice President. He ran for re-election in 2009 with Boediono as his running mate, and won an outright majority in the first round of voting; He was sworn in for a second term on 20 October 2009. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (Champions of the Earth) in 2014.

8. Gajah Mada (1290 - 1364)

with an HPI of 58.98, Gajah Mada is the 8th most famous Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Gajah Mada (c. 1290 – c. 1364), also known as Jirnodhara, was, according to Old Javanese manuscripts, poems and inscriptions, a powerful military leader and Mahapati (roughly equivalent to a modern prime minister) of the Javanese kingdom Were. Majapahit during the 14th century. He is credited with bringing the empire to the peak of its glory. He took an oath called Sumpa Palpa, in which he vowed to live an ascetic lifestyle (not consuming spicy food) until he had conquered all of the Southeast Asian archipelago of Nusantara. For the sake of fun. During his reign, Hindu epics, including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, became infused into Javanese culture and worldview through the performance arts of wayang kulit ("leather puppets"). He is regarded as an important national hero as well as a symbol of patriotism and national unity in modern Indonesia. Historical accounts of his life, political career, and administration are drawn from several sources, primarily the Pararatan ("The Book of Kings"), the Ngarkratagama (a Javanese-language eulogy), and an inscription from the mid-14th century.

9. Mohammad Hatta (1902 - 1980)

With an HPI of 58.77, Mohamad Hatta is the 9th most famous Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Mohamad Hatta (listen; 12 August 1902 – 14 March 1980) was an Indonesian politician and nationalist who served as the country's first Vice President. Known as "The Proclaimer", he and many Indonesians, including Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, fought for Indonesian independence from the Dutch. Hatta was born in Fort de Kock, Dutch East Indies (now Bukittinggi, Indonesia). After his early education, he studied at Dutch schools in the Dutch East Indies and studied in the Netherlands from 1921 to 1932.

10. Diponegoro (1785 - 1855)

With an HPI of 56.71, Diponegoro is the 10th most famous Indonesian politician. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Prince Diponegoro (Javanese; born Bendra Raden Mas Mustahar; later Bendra Raden Mas Antawiriya; 11 November 1785 – 8 January 1855), also known as Dipenegara, was a Javanese prince who opposed Dutch colonial rule. The eldest son of Yogyakartan Sultan Hamengkubuwono III, he played an important role in the Java War between 1825 and 1830. After his defeat and capture, he was exiled to Makassar, where he died at the age of 69. His five-year struggle against Dutch control of Java has been celebrated by Indonesians for years, serving as a source of inspiration for fighters in the Indonesian National Revolution and nationalism in modern Indonesia. He is a national hero in Indonesia.


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