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Megawati unveils her team JAKARTA - Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has named a new cabinet she hopes will revive the country's flailing economy. Two respected technocrats got the nod for the top economic posts, promotions viewed as welcome news for the country's efforts to cement economic recovery and repair the shattered financial system.
"God willing this cabinet that I will lead with the help of my vice-president will be able to face the challenges that have been given to me," Megawati said. Though there were no major surprises, the Indonesian leader changed the set up of the cabinet, appointing three coordinating chief ministers rather than two.
The formation of the new cabinet also means that none of the ministers under Wahid's leadership have been reappointed. Megawati named 30 cabinet ministers in all -- three chief ministers, 17 senior ministers and 10 junior ministers. In key positions, outgoing ambassador to the United States and respected economist Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti was named chief economics minister while Boediono is Indonesia's new finance minister.
The low profile Boediono -- who uses only one name --headed the National Planning Agency during the brief rule of former President B.J. Habibie. He is expected to work well in Megawati's economic team. There has been widespread criticism over the time taken -- more than two weeks -- for Megawati to fill the cabinet posts.
The delay was blamed on political infighting and haggling as the many political factions who ousted her predecessor Abdurrahman Wahid tried to jockey into positions of power. Local media reports suggested Megawati may have had the final say on who filled the cabinet posts, rather than a vote from her party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP).
As she made her choices, she will have had on her mind the many problems facing her country including financial markets, investor confidence, the country's various independence-seeking troublespots and the need to bond a team from many political and cultural backgrounds. "I am faced by the huge hopes of people of Indonesia to quickly resolve the problems of Indonesia. I fully understand the problems facing this cabinet," Megawati said
The names of two predecessors will also continue to taunt Megawati: Abdurrahman Wahid, whose democratic rocky rule led to crisis, an impeachment and an ousting, and Suharto, the last dictator, whose outlaw son "Tommy" is now being hunted over a judge's assassination.

Economic challenges

But the biggest pressure on the new leader involves attempts to rectify the spiraling economy. Among the host of economic challenges is improving ties with the International Monetary Fund which has frozen new loans since late last year.
Thursday's cabinet announcement was watched closely by the financial sector. Markets have been concerned about Megawati's failure to form a government quickly after ascension into power on July 23. Prior to unveiling the cabinet, markets were buoyed by the prospect she would appoint market-friendly ministers to the crucially important economic portfolios.
The Indonesian rupiah rose sharply to a 10-month high in the lead up to the announcement, hitting 9,100 against the U.S. dollar.



Posted in Politics @ 09 August 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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