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Suharto, Raden (1921– ) Indonesian general and statesman, president (1967–98). In 1966, Suharto seized power from President Sukarno, averting an alleged communist coup. He was formally elected president in 1968, and re-elected (unopposed) five times. In 1975, Suharto ordered the invasion of East Timor. Under Suharto, Indonesia experienced rapid economic development, but his autocratic rule was criticized for frequent abuses of human rights. In 1997, economic collapse destabilized Suharto's government, and in 1998 he was ousted after widespread student rioting.