Delays in Passing a New Governing Bill for Aceh Are Unexpected Boon for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM)

The delays mean that elections will have to take place later than planned. Therefore, GAM has more time to build popularity for its candidates. Because they were forced to live in exile for a quarter century, most of GAM’s political leadership holds foreign passports. Unless they re-acquire Indonesian citizenship, they will not be able to run in elections. This may mean that candidates with little name recognition have to contest the elections.

Indonesian parliamentarians in favor of the 2005 peace agreement said that the delay in passing the governing law is necessary to defuse nationalists’ fears that the bill would allow Aceh to break away from Indonesia. Vice President Kalla expects the law to be passed in late May, but no date for a vote has been set.

Related Links:

“Aceh Bill Delay Can Be a Blessing for Ex-Rebels,” Yahoo UK & Ireland News, 30 April 2006.