Indonesia's new leader dumped ex-President Suharto's daughter and his golfing buddy from the Cabinet today but kept several key ministers, angering students whose street protests had led to Indonesia's first leadership change in 32 years.
President B.J. Habibie named his 36-member Cabinet Friday just 24 hours after the autocratic Suharto resigned, ending his reign as Asia's longest-serving leader.
Among those kept in office by Habibie, Suharto's former deputy, were Defense Minister Gen. Wiranto, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and Finance and Industry Minister Ginanjar Kartasasmita.
"It is the same old game. It is still made up of people who have been closely associated with President Suharto," said Syahrir, a former student activist turned economist.
Several senior army commanders, including Suharto's son-in-law Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto, have been fired, military sources confirmed Friday. Prabowo had led the army's elite strategic command and had been regarded as a rival to Wiranto.
Wiranto's armed forces - perhaps the most powerful institution in the country - have pledged support for Habibie and were out in force in the streets of Jakarta today, maintaining order with troops and tanks.
The new Cabinet has a substantial military presence - six serving or retired army generals - as well as six prominent Muslim figures. Most are members of the ruling Golkar party. They are to serve until 2003, when Habibie will finish serving Suharto's term.
The Cabinet reshuffling followed weeks of protests and riots, which culminated Thursday with the resignation of Suharto and the swearing-in of Habibie. Indonesia is struggling with its worst economic crisis in 30 years and unrest has soared as the value of the national currency has plummeted.
Habibie, handpicked by Suharto to serve as Indonesia's third president since independence from the Dutch in 1945, already has angered opposition groups, who fear Suharto might try to exercise power from the sidelines.
To cool tempers, the Indonesian military employed a tactic not found in most military manuals - about 100 of them marched in between protesters and Habibie supporters and began to sing and dance.