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Subagyo Anam, aide to Megawati
"Of course, Megawati is very disappointed"
 real 28k

Rizal Ramli, New Chief Economics Minister
"It's wrong to call it all the president's men"
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Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Megawati 'shocked' at new cabinet

President Wahid (centre) is facing growing criticism
Indonesian Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri has denied speculation she might resign in protest at the president's choice of a new cabinet.

But one of her closest aides said she was "very much shocked and surprised" at the new line-up announced on Wednesday.


Megawati Sukanoputri denies rumours of a split with the president
The aide also said she had been left out of consultations on the composition of the reduced 26-member cabinet.

The new body has been picked to tackle a myriad of problems from the country's ailing economy to separatist pressures across the archipelago.

But President Abdurrahman Wahid has been accused by politicians and the media of surrounding himself with cronies.


She was very shocked and surprised [at the list of names]

Subagyo Anam, Megawati aide
They say he has excluded supporters of Megawati, who controls the largest number of seats in parliament.

Critics have already dubbed the cabinet "all the president's men".

'Very disappointed'

But Megawati, who was absent from Wednesday's official announcement of the new cabinet, denied rumours of a split with the president.


Lack of confidence has continued to batter Indonesia's financial markets
"My office is still here. The most important thing is I want our situation [in Indonesia] to be safeguarded," she told reporters outside the vice-presidential compound.

However one of Megawati's key aides Subagyo Anam told the BBC she was "very disappointed".

Mr Subagyo said it had been agreed that Mr Wahid would consult with Megawati on the composition of the cabinet.


It is regrettable that he has wasted his last chance

Amien Rais, Speaker National Assembly
"In fact the list of ministers was entirely decided by the president and of course she is very disappointed," he added.

Mr Subagyo suggested Megawati had also been mislead over the likely line-up.

He predicted there would now be "a kind of unfriendly relationship" between the president and parliament.

"The majority of parliament is very disatisfied with the list of persons in the cabinet," he said.

Mr Wahid, who has said he will transfer some of his powers to Megawati, gave reporters a bizarre explanation for her non-attendance at Wednesday's announcement.

He told them she had rushed off to take a bath.

Press criticism

Thursday's newspaper editorials were almost universal in their criticism of the president.


The appointment of Prijadi Praptosuhardjo as Finance Minister has raised concerns
The Indonesian Observer labelled the new body Mr Wahid's "crony cabinet", while the daily Media Indonesia said he had failed to find "the brightest minds in this country".

Much of the criticism is aimed at the new economics team, particularly the choice of Mr Wahid's long-time friend Prijadi Praptosuhardjo as finance minister.

Earlier this year regulators blocked Mr Prijadi's proposed appointment to head a state owned bank after he failed a mandatory test to judge his suitability.

The reshuffle has also failed to inspire Indonesia's financial markets, with the rupiah continuing the downward slide it began on Wednesday.

"People are not happy because the new cabinet is purely filled with Wahid's people," one trader said. "As we know Wahid does not have a clear economic vision."

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See also:

23 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid names new cabinet
09 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Megawati: Out of her father's shadow
09 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid steps aside from government
21 Oct 99 | Asia-Pacific
Megawati wins key post
07 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's anaemic revival
06 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Wahid's many problems
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