2017 Regional Elections in Aceh : A Democracy Increasing in Aceh
Aceh province, which hosted 21 elections, including a gubernatorial election, saw a smooth electoral process on February 15th, 2017 in which residents showed enthusiasm in exercising their voting rights. All Aceh’s people were enthusiastic because they felt they had a say in determining their next leader and were contributing to improving the political economy of her regency, through choosing the right person, so that the next leader of the regency and the Aceh provinces were “well-mannered.” “Because a well-mannered leader is a good example. That can be seen in a candidate who really pushes for sharia,” said Roni as quoted by Antara news agency. The future leaders of Aceh province and some regencies should be someone who did not intimidate people, because an intimidation and violent must be forever stopped in Aceh. Indeed, according to law No. 11/2006 grants Aceh, known as the Veranda of Mecca, a special status in Indonesia, allowing the Aceh administration to uphold sharia.
Previously, the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has placed Aceh at second place on the list of the most “vulnerable” regions with a score of 3.327, behind West Papua in first place with a score of 3.381. Banten is ranked third with 3.147, West Sulawesi at fourth with 2.367 and Jakarta at fifth with 2.297. Concerns about security in Aceh were related to the fact that most of the candidates were from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and previous regional elections in Aceh saw incidents involving violence and intimidation implicating candidates.
In the Aceh gubernatorial election, the six pairs contesting the position and four of the candidates were former GAM figures: Zaini Abdulah, Muzakir Mana, Irwandi Yusuf and Zakaria Saman. Zaini was close in rank to the late Hasan Tiro, the leader of GAM, while Muzakir was a GAM commander. Zakaria is a former defense minister of GAM while Irwandi was an elite figure in GAM’s combatant unit during the height of conflict. Alhamdullilah and God’s bless, in the 2017 regional elections in Aceh, everyone feel everything has gone smoothly, no violence or conflicts. The successful of regional elections in Aceh is the victory of all of Acehnese itself.
Voicing similiar opinions, Regional Leader Coordinating Forum (Forkopimda) reported the electoral process on February 15th, 2017 in Banda Aceh municipality and Aceh Besar regency was smooth. Iskandar Muda Military Commander Maj. Gen. Tatang Sulaiman said Wednesday that he had not received any reports of conflicts or riots, saying he observed enthusiastic voters at polling stations.
The increasing of Aceh’s democracy
Previously, Associations for Election and Democracy (Perludem) recorded earlier that the 2016 s.d 2017 campaign period in Aceh had seen 26 incidents involving violence and vandalism. There was an incident in which a grenade was thrown. “Regions with the most violent cases are East Aceh, North Aceh, and Pidie,” Perludem director Titi Anggraeni said.
As far as from a news monitoring in social media, an electronic media and printed media were reported that generally the process of the simultaneous regional elections in Aceh had been successfully and peacefully implemented both gubernatorial elections, municipality and regency elections.
This facts has been showed that in Aceh has been increasing of a democracy values and spirit. Eventhough previously we had received a some news that violence, vandalism and an intimidation had been happened during campaign period, finally the process of 2017 regional elections in Aceh had been implemented very well without any accidents which called be “an election fraud”.
These condition must be apreciated because Acehnese with their enthusiasm and an energetic to obey and to follow 5 years political events which must be done in Indonesia and their provinces. It showed that Acehnese have a huge and deep nationalistic values to their countries and their ideologies.
However, the successful of 2017 regional elections in Aceh have a big lesson learnt for other Indonesian people. Its bellow such as firstly, the Acehnese have a huge spirit to change their life quality through to choose the right leader who will lead them. This facts has been shown that Acehnese used various information before they were decided to go to ballot box and to vote the right leader. Its mean that Acehnese wouldn’t never been choosed an arrogant, a dumb and a controversial figure of candidates to be their leader.
Secondly, through the result of those elections, Acehnese will have a common perception that they want to stop whatever violence action in Aceh. The people of Aceh will be concerned to built and to boost their province, municipalities and regencies development because through the successful of Aceh’s development could be cutted a criminal and a separatist potential to come back. Acehnese also to strengthen their commitment, their devoted and their loyal to the Unitary of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). So, through the results of regional elections, the people of Aceh will be erased any separatist potential to come back. Therefore, if whoever the next leader of Aceh who elected in regional elections specially who supported or based on GAM’s cadre to honor and to respect the commitment of Aceh’s people.
*) Toni Ervianto, a strategic issues observer. His master took at KSI program at the University of Indonesia (UI). Previously, he took his bachelor degree at FISIP University of Jember (Unej). Now, he is joining at Cersia, Jakarta.