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Susilo starts selection of new Cabinet members JAKARTA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has started interviewing several people as candidates for members of his new Cabinet team, a source at the State Palace said. The source, who requested anonymity, was quoted by the online news service of Kompas daily on Sunday as saying that the interviews had been conducted over the past few days.

He declined to disclose the names of people who had been summoned to the Palace, nor the names of ministers to be replaced. Susilo has recently completed evaluating the performance of his embattled Cabinet, and according to Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi, the President will announce the results of the evaluation after Idul Fitri. The President, who was elected in October last year and has promised to evaluate the performance of this Cabinet after one year in office, has been facing pressure to reshuffle the Cabinet amid criticism over the performance of the government in resolving the country's various problems.

There had been strong calls for the President to replace key economics ministers, a demand which became even stronger following the decision to increase fuel prices. Vice President Jusuf Kalla's Golkar Party, the largest party in the House of Representatives and the main supporter of the current government, initially said there was no need for Susilo to reshuffle the Cabinet particularly the economics team, which is led by Aburizal Bakrie of Golkar as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, pointing out that the government could not quickly fix the current lingering problems as it had to deal with several unexpected disasters.

But after a couple of prominent surveys suggested that Susilo must reshuffle the Cabinet to rebuild the image and boost the performance of his government, Golkar deputy chairman Agung Laksono said last week that it was high time for the President to quickly change the members of the Cabinet. "I am aware that the public demands for a Cabinet reshuffle are on the rise. People are pinning their hopes on the government and I would like to see this being responded to. The government will be unable to meet the people's expectations given the current situation. A new departure is necessary," Agung said after greeting the President during an event to mark Idul Fitri at the State Palace on Thursday.

Agung, who is also the speaker of the House of Representatives, said the Cabinet shakeup was crucial to speed up the implementation of promised economic recovery programs. Susilo, a retired Army general and the country's first directly elected president, has been tightlipped over the reshuffle issue. But officials of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), another supporter of the government, who last week met with the President, said that Susilo was certain to replace poor-performing ministers.

The PKS, the only Muslim political party in the coalition supporting the government, insisted that a reshuffle of the Cabinet was essential to ensure the party's continuous support of the Susilo government.



Posted in Politics @ 07 November 2005 18:31 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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