A Dim View of Aceh Election

A Dim View of Aceh Election

The political celebration in the form of regional election in Aceh will be held on 15 February 2017, yet some initial moves have been made by the politicians. They have started to forge political alliances to win the race. However, some arrogant candidates do not feel like listening to considerations from other people then themselves and decide some difficult situations just based on their own analysis.

There are indeed some polls regarding who deserves to win Aceh election, but the results have not officially published. Thus, people as well as the political observer have not really been able to confirm the accuracy of the polls because the method how the polls were conducted remains unclear.

Regarding the distribution of power in the election, it is still dim, however, because there are still some leader candidates who have not chosen their running mates. The people also still cannot assess whether the candidates deserve to be Aceh future leader. This dim view actually will become a disadvantage for the people because they are like buying a cat inside a bag in which we cannot see how it looks like.

According to the news in one of online media in Aceh, Muzakir Manaf has chosen TA Khalid, Chair of Aceh Gerindra Party, for the Vice Governor in the upcoming 2017 Aceh regional election as well as representing national political parties. This decision must have some deliberative considerations. The two have shared a good relationship for a long time. Aceh Party (PA) led by Mualem was a supporter of Prabowo Subianto for the presidential election. PA also supported Gerindra’s cadres in Aceh who wanted to run for Senayan. The rumor also has it that the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) also supports Mualem. So do Golkar party, Democrat Party (PD), and National Mandate Party (PAN).

Mualem will compete with Zaini Abdullah and Irwandi Yusuf in the election. Abu Doto—nickname of Zaini Abdullah, pairing with Central Aceh Regent, Nasruddin, has, from the beginning, signed up as an independent candidate. Up to now, the number of ID cards supporting him has exceeded the required number. As an incumbent, Abu Doto-Nasruddin will be a strong rival for Mualem-Khalid. In some regions in Aceh, real supports from ex-GAM combatant are intensified. Thus, the presence of Nasruddin will likely attract the voters in Tanah Gayo.

Another independent candidate is Irwandi Yusuf. This is the only choice for him to run for gubernatorial election because all parties in the Aceh parliament have had united voice. The same path was taken by him in 2012 election.

Meanwhile, majority of Aceh people consider Tarmizi A Karim as the key figure that can create welfare in Aceh. His excellent records make him deserve to be one of candidates. His candidacy in the 2017 election is indeed a real deal both for his allies and competitors. It is natural for Tarmizi to wish for governor position. As a bureaucrat, he has sufficient experience in government field. He was previously the Regent of North Aceh. In Home Affairs Ministry, he has also posted in some strategic positions. Such records will be incomplete has he not experienced as the Governor of Aceh. As one of the best figure belonging to Acehnese, the desire must have teased him and this needs a response. He missed his chance in 2012 election, now he must seize the opportunity. The upcoming 2017 election is an important opportunity to be number one in his own soil; it is now or never.

Does Mualem Deserve to Win?

The Chair of PA’s Board, Muzakir Manaf, conveyed some reasons why he chose TA Khalid as his running mate for 2017 election. He believes that the Chair of Aceh Gerindra Party is willing to compromise. This decision also displays PA’s commitment to collaborate with national parties. This is the symbol of togetherness to build Aceh and togetherness to create a better and dignified Aceh. Mualem said that he had considered some other figures from the government, academia, religion figures, and politician from national parties. He further said that all elites within PA commit to support his decision to choose TA Khalid. “No internal dispute. All have agreed with my decision,” he said.

TA Khalid successfully replace the names from inside the party who were considered deserve to run with Mualem in the election, such as Kamarudin Abubakar (Vice Chair of PA) and Jufri Hasanuddin (Regent of Southwest Aceh). Mualem might have claimed that his decision has got the supports from all elites of PA, however the real fact must not be that easy. Some say that this decision is a mistake because Khalid might be incapable to increase the vote. “The polls in eight regions in West South Aceh show the low electability of Muzakir Manaf. No response for TA Khalid, in fact,” said the leader of research division of Aceh Research and Consulting, Dedi Muzlahinur, on Saturday (4/6). “Our statement is likely an analysis of the polls. PA starts to split. Especially Doto Zaini (Zaini Abdullah), who previously had been promoted as PA’s candidate, has decided to run solo. This includes also some seniors in PA.” The poll results will soon be published in mass media. Currently, this agency is preparing for the second poll with 2.200 people as samples in 8 regions in West South Aceh.

The statement of Dedi Muzlahinur can be right. An article published in www.ajnn.net said that The Regional Executive Board (DPW) Aceh Party Pidie Chapter had an immediate meeting at their headquarter, in Keuniree area, Sigli, on Saturday. The meeting was lasted from 13.30 WIB to 17.00 WIB. In the meeting, they rejected the candidacy of TA Khalid as vice governor running with Muzakir Manaf. The AJNN’s source reported that such meeting that lasts for more than 4 hours has firmly rejected TA Khalid candidacy. This has been agreed by all board members up to Sagoe level.

A quick view regarding the political power in Aceh election above clearly shows that the candidates promoted by either local parties, national parties, or independent cannot surely predict their victory because the people of Aceh might have their own choice. An adage said “Vox Populi Vox Dei” or the voice of people is the voice of God, thus Aceh people will choose a nationalist figure in the upcoming election. The figure was portrayed as one who will fight for Aceh’s interests as well as national interests simultaneously because Aceh people do not expect any political dispute over the election.

TOAS H*) Toas H. is a political affairs observer in Lembaga Analisa Politik dan Demokrasi (LAPD) Jakarta. Resided in Bekasi.

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