Indonesia's Jokowi set to announce new cabinet

AFP Jakarta, Indonesia Oct 23, 2019, 07.50 AM(IST)

Indonesia president Joko Widodo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, beat Prabowo Subianto in April elections to secure another term as president of the world's third-biggest democracy.

Indonesia's Joko Widodo is set to announce a new cabinet Wednesday in a line-up that could include his election arch-rival, a multi-billion-dollar startup co-founder and the former owner of Inter Milan.

Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, beat Prabowo Subianto -- a former military general accused of rights violations -- in April elections to secure another term as president of the world's third-biggest democracy.

The victory followed a bitter campaign plagued by fake news online and claims from Subianto that the government staged a "massive, systematic and fraudulent" election, which sparked deadly post-poll riots.

But the pair have since appeared together in apparently friendly public meetings, including on Monday when Subianto, 68, hinted that he and another member of his Gerindra party were tapped for top government posts.

"We've been asked to strengthen his cabinet and I earlier said that we, Gerindra, were ready to help if asked," Subianto told reporters in Jakarta.

"(Jokowi) allowed me to say that he asked me to help in the defence sector," he added, without elaborating.

Senior Gerindra official Edhy Prabowo told AFP that the potential job for Subianto was defence minister.

Jokowi has yet to confirm any ministerial appointment.

At least nine people were killed in Jakarta's post-election riots, which included Subianto supporters.

A rights group warned against appointing the former general to a top public job.

"It would be a dark day for human rights in this country" if Subianto is appointed, said Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid.

Subianto, a former son-in-law of Indonesia's late dictator Suharto, was accused of rights violations -- including the kidnapping and disappearance of several pro-democracy activists -- in the lead up to massive street demonstrations that brought down the regime in 1998.

Subianto has never been charged in relation to the allegations.

Among dozens of other posts, former World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati was widely expected to serve another term as finance minister.

Nadiem Makarim, 35, co-founder of ride-hailing startup Gojek, told reporters Monday that he'd been tipped for an unspecified ministerial post. Makarim has announced his resignation from running a firm valued at some $10 billion.

Media mogul Erick Thohir -- a former owner of Italian football club Inter Milan and the 2018 Asian Games organising committee chief -- is also widely expected to land a cabinet job.