From http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/world/asia/22iht-indo.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rssNew Indonesian Cabinet Disappoints Reform-Minded Analysts
By PETER GELLING
JAKARTA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia on Wednesday began to unveil his revamped cabinet, a mix of oft-praised professionals and political appointees that analysts said would do little to increase the pace of reform here.
With the liberal former general having won re-election in a landslide victory in July, anticipation had been high that he would fill his cabinet with effective technocrats who could tackle persistent issues like endemic graft, crumbling infrastructure and an unreliable judicial system.
Instead, the president appears to have reserved only the economic posts for technocrats, while doling out others, like the key Ministry of Law and Human Rights, to members of the handful of political parties that supported his re-election bid.
Peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections this year, together with the government’s successful handling of the economic crisis, further buttressed Indonesia’s reputation as one of the most stable Southeast Asian democracies, only a decade after the turmoil following the Asian financial crisis and the ouster of Indonesia’s longtime authoritarian ruler, Suharto.
Analysts are now looking to Mr. Yudhoyono’s second term as an opportunity to continue the reforms that began during his first.
“It was a surprise and somewhat disappointing that he made so many political accommodations this time around,” said Endy Bayuni, chief editor of The Jakarta Post, the country’s main English-language newspaper.
“The last five years have been a period of learning. The president knows where and why he fell short and he should know what he has to do to fulfill his election promises this time around.”
The president, who was inaugurated Tuesday for his second and final five-year term alongside his new vice president, Boediono, an economist, won the three-way presidential race with 60 percent of the vote. The Democrat Party, which he founded only six years ago, is now the largest in Parliament.
Mr. Yudhoyono’s reform agenda was often thwarted during his first term, when his party controlled only 7 percent of the seats in Parliament, as he attempted to hold together a wide-ranging political coalition.
“We were all hoping that this time around, the president, given his mandate, wouldn’t need to oblige so many politicians,” Mr. Bayuni said.
During his inauguration speech, the president highlighted the need for reform within the country’s fractured justice system.
“We want to create justice which is marked by a respect for nondiscrimination and equal opportunities while continuing to maintain social solidarity and protection for the weak,” Mr. Yudhoyono said.
For the crucial Ministry of Law and Human Rights, however, Mr. Yudhoyono tapped Patrialis Akbar, a career politician from the Islam-based National Mandate Party. Mr. Akbar is not known as a particularly fervent defender of human rights, and analysts fear he lacks the commitment needed to clean up the judicial system or defuse a debilitating conflict between the police and the highly regarded anti-corruption commission.
Mr. Yudhoyono also chose to retain the current attorney general, whom human rights lawyers have accused of being weak on fighting corruption at the highest levels.
Mr. Yudhoyono’s new economic team, which includes some old faces, is likely to build on the country’s improving economic condition. But his appointment of a longtime political ally, Hatta Rajasa, to the umbrella position of minister for coordinating economic affairs has raised eyebrows.
Mr. Rajasa has little financial experience and was sacked as transportation minister in 2007 following a series of deadly air crashes. Mr. Rajasa, however, delivered the National Mandate Party in the July elections.
“I don’t think he was appointed for his economic competency,” said Mohammad Qodari, an independent political analyst. “It is definitely a political appointment. Hatta has been a friend to Yudhoyono.”
Mr. Yudhoyono retained several celebrated economic reformers, including Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Trade Minister Mari Pangestu, and added Gita Wirjawan, formerly the chief of JPMorgan Chase in Jakarta, to head the country’s investment board.
To widespread surprise, the president created a new agency aimed at accelerating badly needed projects, such as infrastructure and the reform of the country’s unwieldy civil service. The president appointed Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a former energy minister and technocrat known for getting things done quickly, to lead it.Mr. Kuntoro successfully managed billions of dollars as head of Aceh’s reconstruction agency following the devastating tsunami there in 2004.
Despite their disappointment, analysts are hopeful that Mr. Yudhoyono will still be able to use his mandate to push through reforms and retain the loyalty of his various cabinet ministers.“Above all, I think he has the potential to be more successful in the future because he has much more power than five years ago,” said Mr. Qodari. “He is supported by the strongest party. He won the election in only one round. I remain hopeful.”