Indonesia Cabinet unveiled, taps opposition and Gojek founder

Indonesia Cabinet unveiled, taps opposition and Gojek founder

Indonesia new Cabinet 2019
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin (pose with members of their new Cabinet on the steps of the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Oct 23, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Adek Berry)

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday (Oct 23) unveiled his new Cabinet for a second term, picking former industry minister Airlangga Hartarto to head his economic team and retaining economist Sri Mulyani Indrawati as finance minister and Retno Marsudi as foreign minister. 

Prabowo Subianto, opposition leader in Widodo's first term and sole challenger in April's bitterly fought poll, will serve as defence minister, Widodo said at the presidential palace.

The co-founder and chief executive of Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek, Nadiem Makarim was named education and culture minister. Arifin Tasrif, a former head of the state fertiliser maker, was named minister of energy and mineral resources.

The president's long-term ally Luhut Pandjaitan retained his role as coordinating minister for maritime affairs, which also oversees the natural resources sector and investment. 

READ: Jokowi supporters left disappointed after Indonesian government opts for low-key inauguration

Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin introduce members of their new cabinet on the steps of the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Oct 23, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Adek Berry)

Media mogul Erick Thohir - a former owner of Italian football club Inter Milan and the 2018 Asian Games organising committee chief - was appointed minister of state-owned enterprises.

Wiranto, the 72-year-old former army chief, did not return to Cabinet as chief security minister, according to an official list.

Islamic State group-linked militants this month staged a failed assassination attempt on the powerful politician, who is recovering in hospital.

Jokowi and his Vice President Ma'ruf Amin were sworn-in at a heavily guarded inauguration ceremony at the weekend amid fears of another attack.

More than three dozen new ministers - the vast majority of them men - sat casually in batik shirts in front of the imposing doric columns of the Merdeka Palace for the unveiling.

READ: Key economic appointments in Indonesia's new cabinet

Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto gestures towards journalists
Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto gestures towards journalists as President Joko Widodo unveils his new cabinet on the steps of the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Oct 23, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Adek Berry)

Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, beat Prabowo in April's elections to secure another term as president of the world's third-biggest democracy.

The victory followed a bitter campaign plagued by fake news online and claims from Prabowo that the government staged a "massive, systematic and fraudulent" election, which sparked deadly post-poll riots. At least nine people died in the unrest.

But the pair have since appeared together in apparently friendly public meetings, including on Monday when Prabowo, 68, hinted that he and another member of his Gerindra party were tapped for top government posts.

Announcing Prabowo's new role, Jokowi said: "I believe I don't have to tell him about his job - he knows more than I do."

READ: Police fire tear gas to disperse crowds after Indonesia confirms president's re-election

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, and newly appointed cabinet ministers
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin and newly appointed cabinet ministers wave as they pose for photographers before the inauguration of new cabinet ministers for Widodo's second term, at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Oct 23, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

Rights group Amnesty International Indonesia earlier warned against appointing the former general to a top job, saying it would mark "a dark day for human rights"

Prabowo, a former son-in-law of Indonesia's late dictator Suharto, was accused of abuses - including the kidnapping and disappearance of several pro-democracy activists - in the lead up to massive street demonstrations that brought down the regime in 1998.

Prabowo has never been charged in relation to the allegations.

Source: Agencies/zl

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