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Megawati to Announce Her Cabinet

August 8, 2001

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Indonesia’s new President Megawati Sukarnoputri will announce her Cabinet lineup on Thursday, her aide said Wednesday.

The announcement, which will be closely watched by financial markets, had been delayed several times, apparently because of jockeying by rival political factions and parties.

The national assembly impeached former President Abdurrahman Wahid on July 23, replacing him with Megawati.

Acting presidential spokesman Bambang Kesowo said the ministers will be sworn in Friday. He declined to give details about the lineup, which will be crucial to pull Indonesia out of a protracted economic crisis.

Megawati is widely expected to pick more than 30 Cabinet ministers, drawn from several political parties that supported her rise to power. She also has indicated she wants a number of nonpolitical specialists on her team.

Also Wednesday, the leaders of a paramilitary Muslim group accused of killing hundreds of Christians in the Maluku islands paid a courtesy call on newly elected Vice President Hamzah Haz, a conservative Muslim politician.

Ja’far Umar Thalib, the commander of the Laskar Jihad, or Holy War Troops, said he had urged Haz to take the religious conflict in the Malukus more seriously, state news agency Antara reported.

At least 5,000 people have been killed in fighting between Christians and Muslims in the eastern Maluku Islands over the last two years. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Islamic country.

Local officials and human rights groups accuse Laskar Jihad of being behind the bloodiest incidents in the conflict.

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