Following the resignation of President Soeharto in May 1998, political and civic leaders, along with governmental officials, began the process of developing a new political system. The most important step was to create a new legal framework for early national elections. New political laws governing elections, political parties and the structure of legislative bodies were signed by President B.J. Habibie on 1 February 1999. The article examines the three 1999 political laws at three levels: political and legal processes, content and implementation. The article argues that those laws were a reflection of political compromise and, therefore, did not meet demands for genuine reform: promoting good governance and the rule of law.