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Friday, May 22, 1998 Published at 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK




Opposition attacks 'reform' cabinet
image: [ Pro and anti-Habibie supporters clash at the national parliament ]
Pro and anti-Habibie supporters clash at the national parliament

The opposition in Indonesia is keeping up the pressure on the new President, BJ Habibie, over the government he appointed after the resignation of the veteran former leader Suharto.

Students demonstrating at the national parliament rejected the new line-up, and it was attacked by a key opposition figure.


The BBC's David Willis reports on the latest developments in Jakarta
Mr Habibie named a cabinet which retains many of the ministers in the old Suharto government, and includes only two members from opposition groups.

The new president 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.

Mr Habibie also promised that he would reject nepotism and cronyism.

The main changes are as follows:

  • Mr Suharto's daughter Tutut has been dropped, as has the former leader's long-time friend and golfing pal, Bob Hasan.

  • Key ministers such as the Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, and the defence minister General Wiranto keep their jobs.

  • Ginandjar Kartasasmita retains 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 Mr 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.

Opposition reserves judgement


[ image: Amien Rais: not convinced by new cabinet]
Amien Rais: not convinced by new cabinet
Amien Rais, the leader of Indonesia's second largest Moslem group which claims 28 million members, said it was his impression that the cabinet was not fully professional and contained some elements of nepotism.

At the national parliament, there was a confrontation between students demanding reform and supporters of President Habibie shouting slogans backing the country's new leader.

Troops had to intervene to keep the two sides apart.

Business more upbeat

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.

Shares in Jakarta firmed, although analysts said that in general, reaction to the government changes was muted.






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