Indonesia - Personal background



Megawati Sukarnoputri, usually known by her first name, was born on 23 January 1947 to President Sukarno and Fatmawati, the second of his six wives. A favorite daughter of Sukarno, she spent her childhood in the Presidential Palace, and felt the traumatic effects of her father's ouster. With an idealistic goal of solving her country's food shortages, she attended two Indonesian universities where she studied agriculture, but she did not complete a degree at either. Her first marriage was to an Air Force pilot who died in a 1971 crash in Irian Jaya; she was also very briefly married to an Egyptian businessman. Her long-lasting marriage is to Taufik Kiemas, owner of a chain of gasoline stations, and they have three grown children. Her husband is thought to have encouraged her involvement in politics. Many analysts believe that Megawati considers herself entitled by destiny to be the leader of Indonesia, but she gave no evidence of such lofty ambitions during her early life as a low-profile "housewife." Her presidency is in keeping with the modern Asian tradition of women who are daughters, or widows, of heads of state succeeding to the helms of governments.

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