- Title: INDONESIA: Body of former president Abdurrahman Wahid heads for hometown funeral
- Date: 1st January 2010
- Summary: JAKARTA, INDONESIA (DECEMBER 31, 2009) (REUTERS) RESIDENCE OF FORMER PRESIDENT ABDURRAHMAN WAHID MILITARY PERSONNEL PEOPLE WALKING INTO HOUSE FORMER PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN WIMAR WITOELAR ARRIVES AT WAHID'S HOUSE PEOPLE FLOCKED INTO THE ROOM WHERE WAHID'S BODY IS BEING LAID
- Embargoed: 16th January 2010 12:00
- Location: Indonesia
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1BAFQ1ORAOBXVEQZ2EOKP46U1
- Story Text: Former Indonesian leader Abdurrahman Wahid, who died in hospital on Wednesday (December 30) at the age of 69, was transported to Jombang, East Java to be buried in his hometown.
Wahid, usually known as Gus Dur, was president between 1999 and 2001 after taking office on a wave of optimism in the turmoil following Suharto's fall from power.
Thousands of people turned out at Wahid's residence in Jakarta to pay their last respects before his body was transported to the funeral.
Supporter Ina Qoniah, from Nahdlatul Ulama, remembered Wahid as a man of principle.
"I hope in the future there will be another leader like him. He united this country, he is one of the few leaders who could unite Indonesia," said Qoniah.
Another supporter, Muhammad Ali from West Java, remembered the former president's sincerity.
"He is an honest and sincere leader, he struggled wholeheartedly for this country," said Ali.
The military deployed five platoons of soldiers to Wahid's residence When Wahid passed away on Wednesday (December 30), his family and current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were at his bedside.
The head of the Cipto Mangunkusumo hospital in Central Jakarta said that his condition had been improving until Tuesday (December 29), but he was later transferred to intensive care after problems with his respiratory system and blood vessels.
The jocular cleric became the first Indonesian to win a contested presidential vote in October 1999, edging out Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of founding President Sukarno.
But when he assumed the highest office in the world's fourth most populous country he struggled to deal with the broken economy and an unstable and fragmented political system in need of a strong leader and good manager.
His style was often bumbling and chaotic, and any hope that his penchant for jokes, formidable intellect and political skills would help lead Indonesia through the transition from authoritarian rule to democracy quickly fell flat.
Wahid's presidency ultimately collapsed amid moves to declare a state of emergency when faced with impeachment over allegations of corruption and incompetence, and he was sacked by parliament and replaced by Megawati.
Wahid suffered several strokes, was nearly blind and had diabetes and regular kidney dialysis, but despite his frail health he remained an influential figure in politics.
The former president was also a staunch defender of moderate Islam and secular politics and was the former leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, a Muslim group with some 40 million members.
He also regularly spoke up for the rights of minorities in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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