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Friday, May 22, 1998 Published at 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK




President names 'reform' cabinet
image: [ President Habibie: took no time in making changes ]
President Habibie: took no time in making changes

Just over 24 hours after his dramatic rise to the Indonesian presidency, BJ Habibie has announced a cabinet which retains many of the ministers in the old Suharto government.

But he has dumped his predecessor's daughter Tutut, and the timber tycoon Bob Hasan, a friend of Mr Suharto since before the autocrat took power 32 years ago.


The BBC's David Willis reports on the latest developments in Jakarta
Mr Habibie again promised that he would reject nepotism and cronyism.

The new president - making his eagerly-awaited announcement on national television - said this would be a reform cabinet, and that it would take steps to improve conditions in Indonesia, promoting competition and the role of small businesses.

Many of the key ministers - such as the Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, and the defence minister General Wiranto - kept their jobs.

And Ginandjar Kartasasmita retained his control over the Indonesian economy.


BBC Correspondent Matt Frei: "The students at the parliament are pretty angry" (1'48")
Diplomatic sources said it was the refusal of leading cabinet ministers headed by Ginandjar to serve in a new Suharto reform cabinet and their warning that the country faced complete economic collapse that finally persuaded the embattled president to resign.

Mr Habibie also made the central bank governor independent of the cabinet.

The BBC Jakarta correspondent says his choice of ministers suggests that change will come very slowly under his presidency.

His only concession to the opposition was to include two members of Indonesia's enfeebled minority parties in the cabinet.

The students who are still occupying the parliament have rejected the cabinet and they say they will continue to campaign for President Habibie's resignation as well.

"I am neither endorsing nor opposing the cabinet," said Amien Rais, the leader of Indonesia's second largest Moslem group which claims 28 million members. "I am neutral."

But the World Bank welcomed Indonesia's new government.

"Generally I was impressed by the quality of the selections to the new cabinet, and I was especially pleased at the broader economic team selections," World Bank country director Dennis de Tray told Reuters news agency.








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