Wiranto is a retired Indonesian Army General. He was the Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia from February 1998 to October 1999. On 27 July 2016 Wiranto was appointed to the position of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
Wiranto was born on 4 April 1947 in Yogyakarta to RS Wirowijoto, a primary school teacher and Suwarsijah. He was the sixth out of nine children. When he was a child, Wiranto dreamed of a military career, but as he grew up he developed the desire to become an architect. However, Wiranto decided to join the Indonesian National Military Academy (AMN).
Wiranto graduated from AMN in 1968 and spent the early part of his military career in North Sulawesi, far from the centre of power in Indonesia. There he worked his way up from being a Platoon Commander to a Battalion Commander in 1982. From there he was assigned to the Indonesian Armed Forces Headquarters for two years before joining the Army Strategic Command in 1985 as a Brigade Chief of Staff in East Java. In 1987, he was transferred to Jakarta where became Deputy Assistant for Operations to the Army Strategic Command’s 2nd Division Chief of Staff.
In 1989, his career had a major break when he was selected to become an aide-de-camp (ADC) to the then Indonesian President Soeharto. In 1993, Wiranto became the Chief of Staff of Jakarta Military Regional Command and subsequently became its Commander in 1994. Two years later, he became Commander of the Indonesian Army Strategic Command, and in 1997, he was appointed Army Chief of Staff.
Wiranto's appointment as Commander of ABRI in February 1998 came at a crucial time. Indonesia was suffering from the effects of the Asian financial crisis and there was widespread opposition to Suharto.
On 21 May 1998, Suharto announced his resignation from the Presidency and Vice President Baharuddin Jusuf Habibie took over as president. Wiranto was retained as both the Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces and Minister of Defence and Security in Habibie's Cabinet. He immediately began working towards reforming the Indonesian Armed Forces. In August 1998, Wiranto also made a move to appease the people of Aceh by withdrawing the status of Military Operations Region (DOM) from the Province. He continued to do the reform of the Armed Forces. In April 1999, supervised the establishment of the Indonesian National Police as an autonomous entity rather than subordinate to the Indonesian Armed Forces. The Indonesian Armed Forces also went through a name change and became known as Indonesian National Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia / TNI).
As part of his effort to name a Cabinet which included all elements of Indonesian politics, President Habibie’s successor, KH Abdurrahman Wahid included Wiranto in the Cabinet as Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia from October 1999 to January 2000.
In August 2003, Wiranto made the decision to run for president after he declared his intentions to participate in the Functional Group (Golkar) National Convention. Wiranto's opponents for the Convention were Akbar, Prabowo
, Aburizal Bakrie
, Surya Paloh
, Jusuf Kalla
, SultanHamengkubuwono X
, and Nurcholish Madjid
. By April 2004, the month of the National Convention, Wiranto decisively won and became Golkar's Presidential Candidate. As his running mate, Wiranto chose Solahuddin Wahid
, the brother of former President Wahid. However, on the Election Day 5 July 2004, Wiranto and Solahuddin came third behind Yudhoyono/Kalla and Megawati/Hasyim Muzadi with 22.19% of the votes.
In the lead up to the 2004 Golkar National Congress, Wiranto became one of the candidates for the position of Chairman, but another candidate, Muhammad Jusuf Kalla won the election and became Golkar’s new Chairman.
In September 2005, Wiranto joined Pehimpunan Kebangsaan (Nationhood Union), a mass organization which was created by former Golkar member, Marwah Daud Ibrahim. At the organization's National Leadership Meeting in May 2006, Wiranto said that the organization was a way to test the waters en route to forming a new political party. Finally on 22 December 2006, Wiranto declared the formation of the People’s Conscience Party (Hati Nurani Rakyat / Hanura) and was elected as its first Chairman until 3rd week of July 2016 (became non-active) after he was appointed as Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.