May 5, 2010

Indonesian Finance Minister headhunted for a year

World Bank headhunts Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati will resign her post and take a senior Washington-based position at the World Bank next month. Source: AFP

INDONESIA'S finance minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, will resign her post and take a senior Washington-based position at the World Bank next month.

Dr Indrawati, the architect of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's financial reform agenda, confirmed the appointment today, after it was announced overnight by World Bank director Robert Zoellick.

She will be one of three advisers reporting directly to Mr Zoellick.

Dr Indrawati would bring "a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group, from the vantage point of an advancing middle-indome country that still faces significant challenges of poverty,'' Mr Zoellick said, according to Bloomberg.

With no successor yet announced, Dr Indrawati's departure leaves a vacuum in the Indonesian reform agenda. Dr Yudhoyono had yet to confirm her departure or indicate whom he will replace her with but an announcement is expected shortly.

Dr Indrawati, a highly regarded technocrat known for standing her ground on policy issues, has been the target of repeated attacks by opponents both within the parliament and across the broader political spectrum.

Her frequent struggles with political nemesis, businessman and Golkar Party chairman Abu Rizal Bakrie, are legendary.

She has also in recent months stared down a parliamentary inquiry into the bailout of the ailing Bank Century, presenting evidence to show that decision was made within the dictates of law and in order to preserve economic stability.

She has also been a key face in the Canberra-Jakarta relationship, with an ongoing assistance program from Australia targeted at Indonesia's financial reform initiatives.

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