The currency crisis that swept through Southeast Asia from mid-1997 turned into a catastrophe when the contagion hit Indonesia. The most obvious force that sealed the Indonesian dictator's fate is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Indonesia's democratic roots reach back to the earliest dawn of the country's 'movement for national awakening'. The pluralist and Islamist poles comprise two broad and overlapping agendas. The Islamist agenda aims to redress historical Muslim marginalisation through affirmative action in political, social and economic areas. Gus Dur had much better credentials for his consistent support for pluralist agendas than for those of reform ideas. The social and political turmoil that led to Suharto's downfall created a power vacuum, which in turn enabled Indonesia to embark on long-delayed democratic change. More than three decades of authoritarian rule have seemingly desensitised the Indonesian people to democratic culture. But the transition towards a democratic decentralised and accountable system of government will take much longer than most Indonesians realise.