Under the 1945
constitution, Sukarno possessed executive responsibility as well as
ceremonial functions as head of state. He quickly created a new government with Djuanda
Kartawidjaja, now first minister, at its head. Pending elections under a new
electoral law, he appointed members in accordance with the functional representation
principle to the bodies for which the constitution provided: the People's Consultative
Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat; MPR) and the Supreme Advisory Council (Dewan
Pertimbangan Agung; DPA). In 1960, when parliament rejected the government's budget, he
replaced it with a provisional nominated parliament.
Sukarno's central purpose was the preservation of national unity and the restoration of
a sense of national identity, goals he pursued through an increasingly flamboyant style.
Sukarno's concern with symbols of greatness--expressed in grandiose buildings, national
monuments, and evocative slogans and in such occasions as the Fourth Asian Games (1962),
to which Indonesia was host--was not accompanied by an attempt to come to grips with the
nation's economic problems. The damage done to the economy by the seizure of Dutch
enterprises in 1957 and the wasteful extravagances of his later search for grandeur was
justified in his eyes as integral to the task of making Indonesians proud of themselves
and of their independence. Nevertheless, he was careless of the economic consequences of
his policies. He appeared to show no recognition of foreign indebtedness, declining
exports, or the inflation that reached new rates of acceleration in the early 1960s.
Sukarno's power during the years of Guided Democracy depended in great measure on the
preservation of a balance between the army and the PKI. Sukarno consistently protected the
PKI from moves made against it by the army, and the period was one of growth in the
communists' prestige. He opposed military attempts to prohibit its congresses and to
suppress its newspapers. He banned movements opposing the party and advanced PKI leaders
to positions within the national leadership. To many observers he appeared to be preparing
the way for the communists to come to power. To others he appeared merely to be redressing
a balance that was in constant danger of being tilted against the PKI.
In foreign policy, Indonesia adopted a neutralist stance. At the Asian-African
Conference in 1955 (the Bandung Conference) the country staked a claim to Third World
leadership. By the early 1960s, however, Indonesia was moving to a new international
position. In ideological terms, Sukarno had sketched the world, as he saw it, in terms of
a conflict between Nefos and Oldefos (New Emerging and Old Established Forces). In this
analysis was embodied his continuing hostility to the West.
In 1962 Indonesia's campaign to recover Irian Barat, which the Dutch had retained in
1949, achieved final success. An agreement was reached with The Netherlands for the
transfer of the territory to Indonesia after a period of temporary UN administration,
though with provision for the inhabitants of the territory to make an "Act of Free
Choice" before the end of 1969. (This was eventually effected by representative
councils, which confirmed Irian Barat's continuance as part of Indonesia.) The resolution
of this issue was followed, however, by the development of Indonesia's opposition to the
formation of Malaysia and its commitment, after an erratic series of changes of mood, to a
policy of "confrontation" toward the new Malaysian federation in September 1963.
The confrontation policy was followed two years later by Indonesia's sudden withdrawal
from the UN in January 1965 in reaction to the seating of Malaysia on the Security