Erwin Renaldi and Wires – Indonesians have expressed disappointment after Indonesian President Joko Widodo has selected Opposition Leader Prabowo Subianto to serve in his new Cabinet as Defence Minister.
Mr Widodo unveiled the Cabinet for his second term on Wednesday, picking former industry minister Airlangga Hartarto to head his economic team and retaining economist Sri Mulyani Indrawati as Finance Minister.
Mr Subianto, Opposition Leader in Mr Widodo's first term and sole challenger in April's bitterly fought poll, has been chosen to serve as Defence Minister, Mr Widodo said.
The co-founder and chief executive of Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek was named Education and Culture Minister.
Arifin Tasrif, a former head of the state fertiliser maker, was named Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources.
The President's long-term ally Luhut Pandjaitan meanwhile retained his role as coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, who also oversees the natural resources sector and investment.
Fears of an Indonesian oligarchy system
Indonesian experts have said the new Cabinet legitimises the threat of an oligarchy system in Indonesia, because many of the new ministers hail from high-profile businesses.
Many Indonesians also expressed anger over Mr Widodo's pick of Mr Subianto as Defence Minister.
They also expressed their disappointed in a now tiny Opposition, fearing a one-sided Government could threaten the future of human rights in the country.
Nine people died in Jakarta earlier this year when diehard supporters of Mr Subianto rioted after he lost the presidential election. The riots were the capital's worst political violence in two decades.
However, Mr Subianto said he would join his election rival's Cabinet to help to strengthen the country's defence, signalling a calming of political tensions.
Mr Subianto's camp previously accused the Government of "systemic" electoral fraud and urged supporters to take to the streets to oppose the official outcome at all costs.
Mr Widodo, who was sworn in for his second term on Sunday (local time), said Indonesians should unite after the bitter election campaign.
Mr Subianto, who is also the founder and leader of the Gerindra Party, had been negotiating with Mr Widodo's governing coalition for Cabinet positions following the divisive April election.
"We have been asked to strengthen the Cabinet in the defence area and we are ready to help," Mr Subianto told reporters after meeting with Mr Widodo at the presidential palace. "I will work hard to meet his goals and expectations."
Suprapti McLeod, a Canberra-based Indonesian citizen who worked for the Jokowi campaign in Australia, told the ABC she was disappointed Mr Widodo aligned himself with Mr Subianto's Gerindra Party.
"A true democracy should have an opposition," she said, arguing it would be better for Mr Subianto to remain in opposition.
"If not, who else will criticise the Government? We can't expect Jokowi to be the perfect President... [but] I still have hope."
Amrih Widodo, a lecturer at the Australian National University, said Gerindra's entry into the ruling coalition would be both "strange and historic".
Indonesia is still living with a legacy of oligarchy and corruption left by Suharto's New Order regime, he added.
Mr Widodo's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) has been led by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri since she founded the party in the 1990s.
Mr Subianto, linked to human rights abuses during the authoritarian rule of longtime president Suharto, also unsuccessfully challenged his presidential election loss to Mr Widodo in 2014 and has now made four unsuccessful bids for the presidency.
Mr Subianto's entry into the Cabinet was a conservative backlash against Mr Widodo's efforts to address Indonesia's poor human rights record, said Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono. "It's a dark day for human rights and justice in Indonesia," Mr Harsono said.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, is an outpost of democracy in a South-East Asian neighbourhood of authoritarian governments and is forecast to be among the world's biggest economies by 2030.
Mr Widodo's second term could further cement the country's two decades of democratisation and see progress in his signature policy of upgrading the sprawling nation's inadequate infrastructure.
Mr Subianto, who allied himself with groups that want Islamic rather than secular law to prevail in Indonesia, won big victories in conservative provinces, but Mr Widodo prevailed nationally with the backing of mainstream Muslim organisations and minority voters.
During his meeting with Mr Widodo, Mr Subianto expressed support for the President's plan to move the national capital to Borneo's East Kalimantan – a province where Mr Subianto and his brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, reportedly own some 220,000 hectares of land.
Mr Widodo's outgoing vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, told Indonesian media in February Mr Subianto bought the land from him five years ago.
"In the national interest, I believe we must unite," Mr Subianto said after meeting the President. "We are ready to help."