President B.J. Habibie urged the ruling party to break from its authoritarian past and said Thursday that steps to revive the economy have failed to arrest Indonesia's worst crisis in 30 years.
In a pessimistic address to a Golkar Party congress, Habibie said the yearlong financial crisis that has put millions out of work shows no sign of abating."The policies that have been taken by the government haven't been able to bring around concrete results," he said. "The rupiah exchange rate is still low, industry hasn't recovered and Indonesian financial markets are still lackluster."
Under the tutelage of the International Monetary Fund, Indonesia has been opening up its economy, dumping monopolies and restructuring banks in exchange for billions of dollars in loans.
Protests and riots that led to the ouster of President Suharto in May stalled the rescue package, however, and scared off investors. Many fear more social unrest as the crisis deepens.
Habibie has pledged democratic reform in a bid to shed the autocratic legacy of Suharto, who used Golkar as a vehicle to back his edicts and retain his power.
"Golkar has to take proactive steps toward national reform - and also Golkar has to reform itself," Habibie said.