Friday, September 18, 2009

Indonesia President wants non-politicians in key cabinet posts

Original source: Reuters/Olivia Rondonuwu

Indonesia's President, who was re-elected in July, said he would pick non-politicians for the key cabinet posts of state-owned enterprises, attorney-general, head of intelligence, and defence.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had already said he intends to pick more technocrats for his next cabinet, due to be sworn in next month, and would appoint fewer politicians from his coalition partners.

International investors want more technocrats in the new cabinet, including current Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, as the government would be more likely to push ahead with key reforms and policies to attract investment and spur economic growth.

"For Defence Minister, I will pick a more neutral candidate, not from the parties. For the State Enterprises Minister, Attorney General, and the State Intelligence Agency as well," Yudhoyono told reporters, without elaborating.

Corruption, red tape and legal uncertainty are frequently cited as deterrents to investment in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

The president and his main reform allies -- Indrawati and vice president elect Boediono -- have stressed the need to continue the fight against corruption and bureaucracy, and overhaul the civil service, police and judiciary.

Yudhoyono has also hinted as plans for a sweeping overhaul of state-owned firms.

During his first term, Yudhoyono was unable to make wide-ranging reforms, partly because his cabinet included old-school politicians who opposed change.

Yudhoyono said that he would address some of the problems that arose in his first term, for example ambiguity over ministers' roles.

"It should be clear who does what, and there will be clear references as to what the ministers must do," he said.

Yudhoyono's Democrat Party won the most seats in the parliamentary elections in April, and allied with several small Islamic and Islamist parties to back Yudhoyono in the presidential election in July.

Political parties both within and outside the coalition are now jockeying for cabinet posts.