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The BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta
"Attention is already focusing on the impending cabinet reshuffle"
 real 56k

Thursday, 10 August, 2000, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Indonesian minister resigns
Preisdent Abdurrahman Wahid talks to reporters
Preisdent Wahid says he plans an extensive reshuffle
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has accepted the resignation of his top economic minister Kwik Kian Gie ahead of a cabinet reshuffle.

But Mr Wahid said the minister would temporarily continue to carry out his duties as minister, with reduced decision-making responsibilities.

"We accept the request with gratitude for all his efforts," Mr Wahid told reporters at the presidential palace.

Kwik Kian Gie, who resigned as chief economic minister
Kwik Kian Gie failed to re-charge the economy
The resignation came 24 hours after President Abdurrahman Wahid handed the running of the government to Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

In a statement issued by his office, Mr Kwik said he was willing to step down to give the president a free hand in a cabinet reshuffled expected to be announced on 21 August.

He had been the most heavily criticised member of the cabinet, accused of failing to co-ordinate the economics team and of being a weak administrator. Some analysts say he may have decided to jump before he was pushed.

However when Mr Wahid accepted Mr Kwik's resignations did not rule out including him in the new cabinet.

"Mr Kwik is a good, honest and clean individual and I am satisfied to have worked with him," he said.

"Whether or not I will place him in the new cabinet, it is my prerogative right which I will not discuss with anyone because it will cause a mixed reaction."

Market boost

Finance Minister Bambang Sudibyo has said he will not follow his boss's example, despite widespread market speculation that he too would step down.

"There is no point if I resign. I have too much work to do," he told reporters.

Indonesia has been in an economic crisis for the last three years after it was hit hard by the Asian financial crisis that first struck the region in 1997.

Unlike in the rest of Asia, the economic recovery in Indonesia has so far been minimal.

But financial markets reacted positively to Mr Kwik's resignation, with the rupiah strengthening by 2% to 8,400 against the US dollar. The stock market also rose by 1.5%.

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See also:

09 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid steps aside from government
07 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's anaemic revival
05 Jul 00 | Business
Indonesian rupiah hits low
21 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid apologises for sacking row
06 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Wahid's many problems
09 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Megawati: Out of her father's shadow
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