B. J. Habibie
(Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie)
Indonesian political leader
Birthplace: Pare-Pare, Indonesia
Trained as an aeronautical engineer, Habibie worked as a vice president and director for technology application at the German aeronatics concern Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm bfor several years before he was recalled to Indonesia to oversee the country's state-owned high-tech industries. He worked under President Suharto for 20 years, first as minister of state for research and technology where he oversaw the attempted development of an Indonesian aircraft industry, and later as vice president. Habibie's days as vice president were few, however, as the economic troubles that had been festering under Suharto's crony capitalism boiled over just 10 weeks after Habibie's appointment. In May 1998, Suharto resigned after 32 years as undisputed head of state, handing the reins over to Habibie. Habibie quickly removed from office the most egregious examples of Suharto's nepotism in an attempt to distinguish himself from his predecessor and win favor with the emerging opposition factions. In 1999 he lost a parliamentary vote of confidence and he withdrew from the presidential race.