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Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday appointed Prabowo Subianto, opposition leader in Widodo’s very first term and sole challenger in April’s bitterly fought poll, as defence minister in a move probably to stir controversy.

Speaking at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Widodo, popularly identified as Jokowi, also said former Market Minister Airlangga Hartarto would head his financial group. Economist Sri Mulyani Indrawati remained as finance minister.

Jokowi secured a second term as president of the world’s third-greatest democracy in April elections, following a bitter campaign plagued by fake news on the web and claims from Subianto that the government staged a “huge, systematic and fraudulent” election.

At least nine men and women have been killed in unrest that followed the poll.

The pair have because appeared collectively in apparently friendly public meetings, like on Monday when Subianto, 68, hinted that he and a further member of his Gerindra celebration had been tapped for major government posts.

Prabowo Subianto

Controversial former common Prabowo Subianto is Indonesia’s new defence minister just after two failed bids for the presidency [Dita Alangkara/AP Photo]

Newcomers

Announcing Subianto’s new part, Jokowi mentioned: “I think I never have to inform him about his job – he knows extra than I do.”

Subianto, a former son-in-law of Indonesia’s late dictator Soeharto, was accused of abuses, like the kidnapping and disappearance of many pro-democracy activists, in the lead up to huge street demonstrations that brought down the regime in 1998. He has by no means been charged in relation to the allegations.

Amongst Jokowi’s 38 ministers, who posed collectively on the measures of the presidential palace wearing classic batik, the newcomers incorporated Nadiem Makarim, the 35-year-old cofounder and chief executive of Indonesia ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek who became education and culture minister.

Media mogul Erick Thohir – a former owner of Italian football club Inter Milan and the 2018 Asian Games organising committee chief – was appointed minister of state-owned enterprises.

The president’s extended-term ally Luhut Pandjaitan retained his part as coordinating minister for maritime affairs, which also oversees the organic sources sector and investment. 

Wiranto, a 72-year-old former army chief, who was safety minister was not on the official list of the new cabinet.

He is recovering in hospital just after he was stabbed by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group-linked fighters this month.

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