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By Telly Nathalia and Olivia Rondonuwu
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a former Indonesian energy minister, is in line to head a new presidential unit which could speed up reform of the civil service and accelerate infrastructure projects, a minister said on Tuesday.
The new unit would help improve coordination between various ministries and resolve many of the bottle necks holding back Indonesia's economic growth. Some analysts say it could be modelled on former British prime minister Tony Blair's delivery unit, or the "West Wing" in Washington.
"He is going to make sure that the regions and the centre work exactly as we plan," said State Secretary Hatta Rajasa, after several sources earlier told Reuters about Kuntoro's possible new role.
A technocrat and former mining and energy minister who won praise for his running of post-tsunami reconstruction in Indonesia's devastated Aceh province, Kuntoro has a reputation for integrity and for getting things done fast.
"He will be like a special staff for the president in order to help the president to accelerate development and reform," a source close to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told Reuters.
Yudhoyono, a reformist ex-general who won a second, five-year term in presidential elections in July, was inaugurated on Tuesday morning in parliament. Thousands of troops and police were out on the streets of Jakarta to provide tight security for the government and visiting dignitaries.
Four separate sources said that Kuntoro was in line to lead the new body, called the Development and Reform Acceleration Unit, which would be equivalent to ministerial level.
It could play a much greater role in overhauling Indonesia's inefficient and overstaffed civil service, cutting bureaucracy and pushing through big infrastructure projects ranging from toll roads and railways to ports and power plants.
PRESIDENT WANTS REFORM
Kevin O'Rourke, a political risk analyst, said the new unit would only prove effective if it had Yudhoyono's full backing, adding that he doubted Kuntoro would accept the job unless he was convinced it would work.
A previous attempt to introduce such a unit during Yudhoyono's first term failed.
"The problem is Yudhoyono has signalled he wants reform, with the presidential delivery unit, but at the same time he has put Hatta Rajasa in as coordinating minister. So there is scepticism if it can accomplish anything," O'Rourke said.
Yudhoyono is due to announce his cabinet soon, but several key posts became apparent at the weekend when candidates visited the president at his home in Bogor, south of the capital Jakarta.
So far, he has chosen a mix of technocrats with strong reform credentials, including Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Trade Minister Mari Pangestu, and career politicians who are likely to remain loyal to him.
The latter group includes trusted aide Rajasa, who may be coordinating minister for the economy. However, there could still be last-minute changes to the line-up.
Kuntoro has worked closely with Yudhoyono and other advisers on plans for the government's first 100 days. Rajasa said Kuntoro was due to meet Yudhoyono later on Tuesday or on Wednesday to discuss the possible appointment.
"The essence of programmes for the next five years is to improve prosperity, democracy, and justice," Yudhoyono said in his inauguration speech to parliament and visiting dignitaries.
"Indonesia will continue to be in the front line to help create a better world order. We will continue to be a pioneer in efforts to preserve the earth from climate change, (and) in world economic reform, especially through G20."
(Reporting by Telly Nathalia, Olivia Rondonuwu, Muklis Ali, Retno Palupi, Andreas Ismar; Writing by Sara Webb; Editing by Ed Davies and Paul Tait)