Indonesia Sets August For Elections In Tsunami-Ravaged Aceh

Indonesia's vice president set Sunday an August target date for elections in Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province, a key part of a peace agreement reached last year to end a 29-year civil war.

Indonesia Sets August For Elections In Tsunami-Ravaged Aceh

Indonesia's vice president set Sunday an August target date for elections in Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province, a key part of a peace agreement reached last year to end a 29-year civil war. Jusuf Kalla said he would ask the European Union to extend its Aceh peace monitoring mission two months beyond their June deadline so they could oversee the polls, which will be contested by former rebels. Efforts to end fighting that claimed 15,000 lives picked up pace after the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami crashed into Aceh's coastline, killing or leaving missing at least 180,000 lives in the province alone.

Seven months later a peace accord was signed, with the rebels agreeing to hand over all of their self-declared 840 weapons and to give up their long-held demand for independence. The government withdrew more than half of its nearly 50,000 garrison from Aceh and offered the region limited self-government and control over much of the oil- and gas-rich province's mineral wealth. Local elections -- a key rebel demand -- were initially scheduled to take place this month but Indonesia's parliament has so far failed to pass necessary legislation, sparking allegations of foot-dragging.

But Kalla told visiting EU policy chief Javier Solana that the government remained committed to the peace process and hoped to pass a bill by late May. "Then we'll need three months (to prepare) for a local election," he said. "So the election will probably be held in early August." Communication Minister Sofyan Djalil was more specific: He said the polls could be held between Aug. 5 and 12, though the dates depended largely on the timing of the bill's passage.

Solana, who wraps up a three-day visit to Indonesia on Sunday, reiterated the EU's commitment to the peace process and said, despite a few hiccups, he was pleased at the progress so far. "As far as the EU is concerned we are going to accompany the process until the end," he told reporters after meeting Kalla. (***)

Source: The Jakarta Post

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
YORUM EKLE