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Indonesian leader's third cabinet reshuffle could have elections implications

  • Indonesia's recent cabinet reshuffle is expected to be the last one before the 2019 presidential elections in Indonesia, a Singapore-based advisory firm said
  • The reshuffle has political implications, with Widodo looking to gather support ahead of the presidential elections next year

A recent cabinet reshuffle in Indonesia is the latest move from the country's leader to firm up support ahead of presidential elections next year, according to a Singapore-based advisory firm.

On Wednesday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo oversaw the third reshuffle of his cabinet since assuming office in 2014. The reshuffle has political implications, with Widodo looking to gather support ahead of the presidential elections next year, Hasan Jafri, founder and managing director of HJ Advisory told CNBC on Thursday.

"The reshuffle gives more balance to groups and parties that are influential in the Indonesian political system, which happens to be the Golkar and the military," he said, referring to another name for the Party of the Functional Groups that currently holds 16 percent of the country's parliament seats.

The cabinet now has three from Golkar and three from the military, Jafri explained.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the 2015 cabinet reshuffle on August 12, 2015.
Romeo Gacad | AFP | Getty Images
Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the 2015 cabinet reshuffle on August 12, 2015.

Widodo's move to secure Golkar's support could prove to be the deciding factor in the presidential election next year: "From all indications at this point in time, it looks like it will be a contest between [Widodo] and Mr. Prabowo, which was also the case in the previous election," Jafri said.

Prabowo Subianto is a businessman and former lieutenant general for Indonesia who narrowly lost to Widodo in the 2014 presidential election.

Despite that earlier result, Jafri said he didn't expect Indonesians to vote based on the past.

"There is a new generation of Indonesians now. In the upcoming elections, close to a 100 million people will be under the age of 35," he said. "They did not grow up in the old Indonesia."