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Indonesia's key reformers set to stay in cabinet
Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:02am EDT
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By Muklis Ali
BOGOR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia's finance and trade ministers, technocrats with international profiles, said on Saturday they would be in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's next cabinet, confirming a commitment to reform and growth.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, expected to keep her post in the next government, said the president had asked her to be in his next cabinet, but declined to give details.
Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said she had been asked by Yudhoyono to work in an economic post, to maintain economic growth, boost trade, and improve the investment climate, an indication she was likely to remain at the trade ministry.
Both Indrawati and Pangestu are economists who have been instrumental in driving reform and raising Indonesia's profile abroad with investors and trade partners.
Their reappointment would be welcomed by many investors.
"It's not a surprise, but it's reassuring for investors that sensible macroeconomic policies will continue," said James Bryson, whose firm HB Capital invests in Indonesian stocks.
Yudhoyono, a reformist ex-general who won a second, five-year term in presidential elections in July, is due to announce his cabinet following his inauguration on October 20.
There has been intense speculation for weeks over which ministers would keep their posts and whether Yudhoyono would pick more technocrats and professionals -- a crucial sign of his commitment to reform -- rather than career politicians.
Journalists crowded outside Yudhoyono's home near Bogor, south of the capital Jakarta, as the President interviewed cabinet candidates over the weekend.
Investor interest in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, has picked up sharply this year thanks to political and economic stability when many of its export-dependent neighbors have been badly hit by the downturn in the global economy.
Yudhoyono's Democrat Party won a parliamentary election in April, paving the way for him to win a second, five-year term in the July presidential poll with a strong mandate for reform.
Indonesian stocks have surged 85 percent this year, while the rupiah currency has risen 18 percent against the dollar, making it one of the best performing currencies in Asia.
Indrawati said Yudhoyono had discussed the importance of boosting economic growth, set to reach 4-4.5 percent this year.
"The president asked me to participate in cabinet for 2009-2014," she told reporters. Continued...
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