Emma Connors, Jakarta – Controversial and polarising are two adjectives frequently used to describe former Indonesian general and special forces commander Prabowo Subianto, who this week was appointed Minister for Defence in President's Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's second-term cabinet.
Given Prabowo was Jokowi's rival in two presidential elections, the appointment is a risky move for the President. It's also a wild card for Indonesia's regional allies contemplating the next five years of defence co-operation.
Euan Graham, executive director of La Trobe Asia, describes the appointment as a "bit of a conundrum".
"Prabowo has the background for the defence position. But it's his background that's also the problem, politically. I guess it's a gilded cage from Joko's perspective. Jakarta's defence partners will reconcile themselves to Prabowo as a man who gets thing done."
Australia has already done a fair bit of reconciling, lifting a visa ban on Prabowo during his first run for president, in 2014.
The ban was related to human rights abuse allegations during Prabowo's time as a military commander in East Timor when it was under Indonesian rule in the 1990s.
Michael Shoebridge, director of defence, strategy and national security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says both the Indonesian military and Indonesia have changed remarkably in the intervening years.
"Prabowo's appointment will put a focus on his and Indonesia's approach to human rights and I think that will probably help to reinforce the positive changes we have seen since Indonesia became a democracy," Mr Shoebridge said.
Given the importance of the bilateral relationship, both nations will focus on looking ahead, he added.
"The relationship with Indonesia is fundamental to Australia's security and broader interests in the region so the Australian government will work with Prabowo, just as it would have had he become Indonesia's president."
As to how the appointment will affect domestic politics, Ben Bland, Southeast Asia project director at the Lowy Institute, believes Prabowo has the skills and connections to succeed as Defence Minister but notes that he "remains a divisive figure inside and outside Indonesia".
"Prabowo is one of several big beasts in the cabinet and there is a risk that tensions start to fly when they get down to work," Mr Bland said. "Jokowi has tried to neutralise opposition by bringing Prabowo into his government but his 'big tent' strategy risks undermining the coherence and effectiveness of his administration."
The appointment is also a reminder of just how difficult Indonesia is to govern, says Hal Hill, professor of Southeast Asian studies at the Australian National University. "There are so many forces and currents, and the President has to strike a balance with such diverse constituencies – ranging from modern liberal capitalism through to the arch conservative, nationalist Islamic."
And while Jokowi may find it difficult to rein Prabowo in, he will have some help. On Thursday, the day after the new cabinet was announced, the President stressed co-ordinating ministers will have the final say on policy. This means Co-ordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mohammad Mahfud MD, commonly known as Mahfud MD, will have veto power over Prabowo.