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Aceh Newsletter April (3) 2009

Mit Meldungen und Berichten vom 12. – 19.4. 2009

Zusammengestellt von Ingo Wandelt


April 12, 2009
Ahmad Pathoni
Discontent Simmers With Aceh’s ‘Silly’ Take on Shariah
Banda Aceh. Stories about young unmarried couples in Aceh Province arrested by religious patrol officers make frequent headlines in local newspapers with tabloids exposing details of the offenders’ sexual trysts.
Staunchly Muslim Aceh has imposed some aspects of Shariah, or Islamic law, since 2002 under an autonomy scheme granted by the central government as part of attempts to pacify a clamor there for independence.
A series of regulations, known as qanuns , criminalize consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages, gambling and illicit relations between men and women, with caning the main punishment. Muslim women are required to wear headscarves.
A government agency called the Wilayatul Hisbah was set up in 2003 to monitor the implementation of regulations, but seven years after Islamic law came into force, many Acehnese are critical of how it is being implemented.
Some Acehnese said the Wilayatul Hisbah focuses too much on individual moral behavior while others accused enforcers of ignoring offenses committed by the rich and powerful.
“The way they implement Shariah is so silly,” said Aprilia, a woman who works for a government office in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh. “They only focused on arresting unmarried couples and don’t even bother gamblers anymore.
“People with money can bribe their way out of trouble. For a few million rupiah, you can get away,” she said.
Another Acehnese criticized Shariah patrol officers for what he called preferential treatment.
“I support Shariah, but it seems to me it is only being enforced on the poor,” said Wahdar, who sells cellphone vouchers.
“Rich people go to hotels and commit adultery, but they are never arrested,” he said. “Poor unmarried couples can only afford to go to the beach, and that’s where they get arrested.”
Critics said the antivice patrol by Wilayatul Hisbah officers encourage people to report on their neighbor and promote a kind of moral vigilantism.
The head of provincial Shariah affairs, Ziauddin Ahmad, defended the implementation of the laws, saying that in most cases, offenders were released after being given religious advice.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Aceh Election: Aceh Party Accused of Cheating By PKS
The Jakarta Globe
Monday, April 13, 2009
Nurdin Hasan
Banda Aceh: The homegrown Aceh Party’s apparent victory in provincial legislative elections is being challenged by the Aceh branch of the Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, which is accusing the party of coercion and cheating in last Thursday’s elections.
The Aceh Party, which was founded by former guerillas of the Free Aceh Movement, or GAM, denies the charges.
Moharriadi, the local PKS chairman, claimed the Aceh Party had “polling station coordinators steer people into voting for party number 39 [the Aceh Party].”
It was unnecessary, he said, because the Aceh Party would have won anyway. “The Aceh Party could have still won a majority without intimidation. But because of this cheating, their victory is suspect,” Moharriadi said.
Munirwan M Alamy, a PKS official in the Pidie Jaya district, a former GAM stronghold, said on Saturday that he had asked government officials to order a recount in the district due to cheating, according to state-run Antara news agency.
The Aceh Party has claimed a 75 percent lead in Aceh’s provincial legislative election. It has also claimed to have won more than 90 percent of the vote in areas that used to be GAM bases during the long years of armed conflict in the area. A peace deal in 2005 ended fighting and disbanded GAM.
The Aceh Party is the first region-based political party ever allowed to contest an election and if it has won a massive victory in the province, it would constitute a vindication of sorts for the long battle GAM waged against the central government.
The Aceh Independent Election Commission, or KIP, has yet to issue an official vote tally for Aceh. The deputy chief of KIP, Ilham Syahputra, said on Sunday that only several thousand votes had been reported so far.
An observation team from a local NGO, the Community for Aceh Resources and Development, released its preliminary results on Friday, saying “the voting process in Aceh was peacefully conducted according to regulations.” A source close to the observers, however, said the team covered only small portions of the province.
Moharriadi claimed polling station organizers cooperated with the Aceh Party to allow people to vote in multiple stations and to permit unregistered voters to cast ballots. “There were even individuals who came to the houses of PKS poll watchers to tell them not to come to polling stations on pain of death,” he said.
Adnan Beuransyah, Aceh Party’s spokesman, has denied the charges.

Aceh Election Loser Tells a Fruity Tale
The Jakarta Globe
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Nurdin Hasan
Banda Aceh: The atmosphere in the office of the Langsa Elections Supervisory Committee, or Panwaslu, in East Aceh was transformed on Tuesday. Gone was the oppressive drudgery — and fear — of dealing with election complaints in the restive city and in its place a sense of something magical — with a twist of lime.
Isa Alwi, the head of Langsa Panwaslu, said the change had been brought about by a complaint from Fitriani Abdullah, who unsuccessfully ran for the Langsa Legislative Council, and the unique supporting evidence of five kaffir limes in a plastic bag.
“Fitriani said that the five limes were magical instruments that were used by her opponents so that her followers did not vote for her, causing her to lose the election,” Isa told the Jakarta Globe by phone.
Native to Southeast Asia, kaffir limes and the leaves of the tree are traditionally used in cooking and are not normally associated with witchcraft, but Isa said that the 40-year-old candidate from the Indonesian Nationalist Party, PNI, had alleged that the magic was as serious as vote buying and other forms of election fraud.
He said the tale began when the always-accommodating Panwaslu office had agreed to meet Fitriani to hear her complaint, as it would do for any aggrieved candidate or political party.
“But we were pretty surprised when we saw the type of evidence submitted; it consisted of five rough-skinned limes in a plastic bag,” Isa said. “It was just so amusing for me and my colleagues because it is the first case of its kind in Indonesia.”
He said that according to Fitriani, she received the five limes from a friend with a sixth sense, who had discovered the fruit planted near the polling station in Alur Dua village, West Langsa subdistrict.
“Fitriani said that her supporters could not see her name [on the ballot paper] because their vision was blurred by the magical powers of the limes,” Isa said.
Isa assured the Globe that Fitriani’s name did in fact appear on the ballot.
He said that when Fitriani arrived at Panwaslu’s office, she did not appear to be suffering from any apparent postelection stress.
“Fitriani seemed very sure that there was a mystical element in her losing the election battle,” Isa said.
“In fact, she said that she felt the mystical sensation the day before the election.”
Fitriani did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment, but it is unlikely her appeal will succeed. She didn’t know who had planted the fruit and could not name a suspect.
Isa confirmed that the complaint could not be processed, though he said the limes were being kept as evidence, for now. If they begin to rot, he said, they will be thrown out.
“We consider [the incident] as a respite for the Langsa city Panwaslu members who are so tired from monitoring the elections,” he said between laughs.

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific
April 15, 2009
Indonesia: Governor Says Arson Attacks Aimed At Intimidating Aceh Party
[Unattributed article: ‘Gubernor Adukan Intimidasi Partai Aceh’]
On 13 April 2009, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) Governor Irwandi Yusuf met with Vice President Jusuf Kalla in Jakarta to discuss the security situation in NAD after the 9 April legislative election.
He described the situation in NAD on election day as “normal”. However he added that he had passed on reports of intimidation against the Aceh Party (PNA) to the Elections Monitoring Committee (Panwaslu).
He was also concerned about an incident on 12 April in which 20 shops in Bener Meriah District were torched. He suspected the attack stemmed from resentment over PNA’s recent strong showing in the elections in NAD, and concern in some quarters that as a party consisting of former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) combatants, PNA would use its victory to push for independence from Indonesia.
A number of perpetrators have been arrested in relation to the acts of intimidation against PNA. The arson incident is still under police investigation.
Source: Republika, Jakarta, in Indonesian 14 Apr 09

Asia-Pacific Countries Meet in Indonesia on Rohingyas
Antara News Agency
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Nusa Dua: Asia Pacific ministers met Tuesday in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali to discuss people smuggling and the plight of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, officials said.
The two-day ministerial conference in Nusa Dua is being co-hosted by Indonesia and Australia and has attracted representatives from more than 60 countries.
It is the third such meeting under the so-called Bali Process on people smuggling, people trafficking and related transnational crime.
“It is hoped that the Bali Process will become a vehicle for change where member countries can seek solutions and solve problems in addressing the challenge of people smuggling,” the Indonesian foreign ministry was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.
Hundreds of Rohingya migrants were rescued in Indian and Indonesian waters between December and February after being abandoned at sea with few provisions by the Thai military.
Scores are feared to have died as they drifted in rickety boats for weeks before reaching land.
Thailand, which is on the steering group of the Bali talks, has admitted it towed migrants out to sea but denies violating their human rights.
It argues that the Rohingya — Bengali-speaking Muslims who are denied citizenship rights in mainly Buddhist Myanmar — are illegal economic migrants who pose a regional problem which must be solved multilaterally.
Bangkok had proposed a meeting on the issue with Myanmar and Bangladesh but Indonesia pushed for a broader dialogue with other Asia-Pacific countries under the Bali Process framework.
The Bali Process was first convened in 2002 to tackle the influx of illegal migrants into the region from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

Magnitude-6 quake hits West Sumatra
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Thu, 04/16/2009 8:38 AM  |  National
An 6-magnitude earthquake hit South Pagai Island in Mentawai Island, West Sumatra in the wee hours of Thursday, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency has reported.
The agency said that the earthquake’s epicenter was located 30 kilometers southwest of the island at 35 kilometers under the sea level.
The agency said the quake, which occurred at 00:47 a.m. did not cause tsunami. There was no immediate report of casualties or damage so far.
News portal reported the quake shocked the island residents, who ran out of their houses.

Indonesia Tsunami Reconstruction Body Ends Aceh Mission
Nurdin Hassan
April 16 (AFP) — Indonesia’s tsunami reconstruction agency wound up work in Aceh on Thursday, more than four years after deadly waves killed 168,000 people and devastated the province.
The headquarters of the Aceh-Nias reconstruction agency (BRR) was closed in a low-key ceremony, ending its responsibility for one of the largest disaster reconstruction efforts in history.
“We’re changing this name plaque because the BRR finishes its mandate today,” agency head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto told reporters at the ceremony in Banda Aceh.
“The job of Aceh reconstruction will be carried forward by the Aceh provincial government and six ministries.”
The agency has been generally hailed as a rare success in a country renowned for graft and inefficiency, but it leaves behind a number of unfinished projects and concerns that its withdrawal will destabilise the local economy.
Mangkusubroto has acknowledged it had failed to meet the expectations of all victims.
“Building back an Aceh devastated by this disaster is not the same as building real estate because what we have faced here is wreckage and angry people, frustrated people, because their hope is for speedy development,” he said earlier this week.
The 2004 tsunami, which killed more than 220,000 people, including in Sri Lanka, Thailand and India, led to an outpouring of international aid.
The BRR says it has allocated 6.7 billion dollars of the 7.2 billion pledged by individuals and governments after the disaster and built over 140,000 homes, 1,759 school buildings, 363 bridges and 13 airports.
But by its own reckoning around 350 families are still living in barracks waiting for housing. A major US-funded highway through some of the worst-hit areas also remains incomplete.
Teuku Achmad Fuad Haikal, the 39-year-old head of a local non-governmental organisation, said he was still waiting for a new home four years after the tsunami swept away his house, his wife and two daughters.
“I haven’t got a house up to now even though I’ve sent a request to the BRR twice,” he said.
“But some people have got more than one home, this has to be stopped.”
Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said the provincial government will use a special 2009 budget of 1.3 trillion rupiah (120.9 million dollars) to finish any projects the BRR did not complete.
“Indeed there are housing development projects that have been abandoned by contractors, there are those that aren’t finished. The remainder will be finished by (local authorities) this year,” he said.
Independent aid groups working with the BRR have complained of being forced to pay bribes to local contractors but there has been no official estimate of how much of the international aid money was lost through corruption.
The tsunami sparked peace talks that led to a deal in 2005 between separatist rebels and Jakarta, ending a three-decade war that killed over 15,000 people.
Many demobilised rebels were given jobs in reconstruction projects and there are fears the BRR’s closure will fuel discontent and unemployment at a sensitive time in the peace process.
Adding to potential woes is the fact that while aid has transformed tsunami-hit areas, those living in inland districts devastated by the civil war have been left out.
Acehnese political leaders accuse the government in Jakarta of failing to meet its obligations under the peace deal, while some members of the Indonesian military believe the rebels are ready to resume their fight for independence.

The Jakarta Post
April 16, 2009
Aceh govt backs BRR against criticisms
The Jakarta Post
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam governor Irwandi Yusuf responded to criticisms on the performance of the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) on Thursday saying that it had fulfilled its duties successfully and extraordinaryly.
“In the world we have criticisms and blasphemy but what the BRR has done in Aceh, although not 100 percent perfect, was 94 percent successful and extraordinary,” Irwandi said in Banda Aceh as quoted by Antara news agency.
Representing the government, he said the statement at a function to host a luncheon for BRR Chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto before the latter left for Jakarta after completing his mandate in Aceh.
According to the mandate, BRR service in Aceh and Nias came to an end on April 16, 2009.
Earlier, the governor predicted that the BRR would reconstruct and rehabilitate Aceh from the impact of tsunami as much as 60 percent but the agency was unexpectedly able to complete more than 90 percent of its task.
Commenting on criticism that BRR left the rest of its task unfinished, the governor said it did not mean that BRR was unsuccessful.
“If there is a similar board like BRR in the other part of the world that can complete its task 100 percent, we can say BRR has failed but in fact BRR has no comparison,” Irwandi Yusuf said.
The governor added that without the presence of BRR in Aceh, he was unsure trillions of rupiahs disbursed by the government and donor countries for the rehabilitation and reconstruction in the province would be able to be spent out in four years.
He said that without BRR’s presence in Aceh, the province would not be rehabilitated and reconstructed like it is today.
“Therefore BRR is considered successful in its mission in Aceh. Even if there is something left unfinished, it is the responsibility of central government and provincial administration to carry on,” the governor said.

Officials admit poor disaster management in regions
Thu, 04/16/2009 1:11 PM  |  National
Many of Indonesia’s regions remain unprepared for disasters and have no prevention or management strategy, despite the country’s high vulnerability to floods, landslides and earthquakes, officials say.
“Disaster management requires urgent attention because Indonesia is the second most vulnerable country in the world in terms of disasters,” director of general governance at the Home Ministry Kausar A. Saleh told regional representatives at a seminar on regional disaster management in Jakarta on Wednesday.
In 2007, the central government gave provincial and regency authorities a one-year period to form regional disaster management agencies (BPBD).
However, out of the country’s 33 provinces, only six — West Java, Central Java, Bengkulu, West Sumatra, Southeast Sulawesi and North Sulawesi — have begun establishing such agencies.
The sluggishness of this process is dangerous given the country’s high susceptibility to disasters.
According to data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), as many as 343 disasters occurred in the country in 2008, the most frequent of which were floods, typhoons and landslides.
The disasters caused trillions of rupiah in losses and claimed the lives of more than 245 people, although this number was a large decreased from 888  the previous year and 814 in 2006.
The country has had several exceptionally deadly disasters, including the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, which caused over 126,000 deaths, and, most recently, the Situ Gintung dam burst in Tangerang, which killed almost 100 people.
Natural factors, such as the archipelago’s location along the Pacific ‘ring of fire’, as well as man-made factors, such as environmental destruction and unchecked development, have made the country a hotbed of disasters.
Efforts to prevent disasters have been sparse.
Areas that have not succeeded in establishing disaster management agencies currently rely on Coordination Boards for Disaster Mitigation (Satkorlak) to deal with the associated problems.
These boards however, react only after a disaster has occurred and do not provide necessary preventive measures in disaster-prone areas.
The BPBN agencies on the other hand must ensure preventive measures are taken, including ensuring that development projects will not increase a province’s likelihood of being affected by a disaster.
“After forming the agencies, the regional authorities must formulate disaster management policies and include disaster management funds in their budgets,” Kausar said.
He added that after a province establishes its own agency, its disaster mitigation board will be disbanded and its members will be transferred to the agency.
BNPB head Syamsul Ma’arif said that regional authorities should have the capacity to manage disasters, rather than rely on the central government for help.
“The regional authorities must be responsible for their own areas,” he said. “In the future, regencies and towns will also have their own disaster management agencies, if it is deemed necessary for them,” he added.
However, such agencies require considerable funding and human resources and most regional authorities have not allocated special funds for disaster prevention efforts, Syamsul added.

Aceh Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Bureau Closes
Voice of America
Friday, April 17, 2009
By Solenn Honorine
Banda Aceh, Indonesia: The westernmost Indonesian province of Aceh was the area worst hit by the 2004 tsunami. 167,000 people there died, and hundreds of thousands were left homeless. Four years later, the Bureau for the Reconstruction of Aceh is closing shop, its work nearly done.
Some houses still empty
But many of the brand-new houses remain vacant, because of construction problems.
That is the case in Deddy’s village. The young man walks toward a new house that is only used by a herd of cows as a shelter against the brutal midday sun
“People are afraid to live in it, because the roof is not well attached, it just lies on the cement and it could fall on us,” he says. “There are a lot of problems with all the houses. So many houses are not ready. Almost none of them! If you want to live in them, you have to renovate them yourself. We’re so disappointed.”
Throughout the province complaints like that abound. That new highway? In parts it remains rubble. People are still waiting for new houses, while just-built ones have no electricity or running water.
From Jakarta, things seem positive
But seen from Jakarta, the picture is considered very bright indeed: 90 percent of the reconstruction is finished in Aceh: almost 130,000 houses have been built, 3,000 kilometers of roads, 1,500 schools.
Joachim Von Amsberg is the country director for the World Bank, which helped fund and supervise reconstruction efforts.
“It’s easy to make a big story out of the failures, but this actually is a success story. Aceh and Nias have been built back, and in some cases have been built back better,” he says.
Most of the work was done by the Indonesian Bureau for the Reconstruction of Aceh, known as the BRR. On Thursday, it closes down for good.
Some criticize BRR’s work
“There is a gap of opinion about their performance between people in Aceh and those who are based in Jakarta or outside of Aceh,” Aguswandi says. “Acehnese question whether they have done enough. You had a lot of groups coming, you had a lot of funds available…. This should have put Aceh in a much better place. But in fact no. The first thing that the Acehnese worry about is “what’s going to happen after the BRR has left Aceh?”
The BRR was created for tsunami relief. It is regarded as free of corruption, making it an inspiration for much-needed bureaucratic reforms in Indonesia.
But Yusra Iwata Alsa, head of the BRR anti-corruption unit, warns that when the office closes and its mission passes to local and national agencies, Aceh might go back to old habits.
“I myself organized anti-corruption trainings in several districts and cities of Aceh,” Yusra says. “During these sessions, we taught the civil servants all the modus operandi to be put in place in order to get rid of corruption. But I’m sad about the results, because out of the dozen districts where I taught, only one showed progress.”
Many problems remain
Lambung neighborhood, in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, was flattened by the waves on December 26, 2004.
It should exemplify the BRR motto: “build back better”. Where used to lie a dirty, cramped, unhealthy area, today wide lanes cut through a neat array of little bungalows.
But no water runs into the towers’ brand new toilets, and no lamps can shine because electricity was cut off a few months after the the Lambung project was done. The residents say they can not afford to pay the bills.
Some positive results
It is something that aid workers like Jerôme Fernandez, from Education International, fear could happen to the rest of the infrastructure built after the tsunami.
“That’s the question we ask everybody: what will happen of all the things we are leaving behind? It will be a shame, you know, if all those buildings are not maintained, because some of them, they are schools that they could not have even dreamed of,” he notes. “The local government should maintain these schools. If not, they will become very dirty, or just white elephants.”
The tsunami had one positive outcome: the trauma brought an end to a civil war that had torn the province for three decades.
In Indonesia’s recent legislative elections, former rebels, who already control most of the local executive posts, including governor, largely won control of the local parliaments. After years of fighting, they have democratically won control Aceh, and now will be responsible for finishing the tsunami reconstruction.

April 16, 2009 Nurdin Hasan
Four Years After the Tsunami, BRR’s Task Is Done. Well, Almost.
Banda Aceh. A number of homes still remain unfinished, but at 10 a.m. on Thursday, the nameplate of the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency, or BRR, was taken down from its office in Lueng Bata, as scheduled.
The agency closed down after four years of overseeing the massive task of rebuilding the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged Aceh Province and Nias Island.
BRR’s chairman, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, said during the agency’s final press conference here that through cooperation with regional governments, donor countries, UN agencies and NGOs, and a Rp 35 trillion ($3.25 billion) budget, they had managed to rebuild Aceh and Nias as planned.
“The target was achieved. All numbers in the blueprint were achieved,” he said. “In the first blueprint, we were supposed to build 90,000 houses. But as of today, 140,304 housing units have already been constructed.”
Kuntoro said, however, that a few more houses were being constructed by various organizations. Some 400 families, victims of the tsunami, are still living in temporary shelters.
“Those still living in barracks already know when and where their houses will be completed, so they have no worries at all,” he said, explaining that the remaining unfinished houses were due to unscrupulous contractors who had run away with the construction funds.
Kuntoro said that having overseen about 15,000 projects, it was not unexpected for BRR to leave a few remaining loose ends, especially given the scale of destruction caused by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami, which killed more than 170,000 people in the province and destroyed infrastructure along 800 kilometers of coastline.
But he added that some BRR personnel would remain in Aceh until the end of the year to oversee the completion of these projects.
During its four-year mandate, BRR also built 13 airports and airstrips, 23 seaports, 1,115 medical facilities, 1,759 schools, 3,696 kilometers of road, 363 bridges and 996 government buildings. It also assisted 195,726 small- and medium-sized enterprises, trained 155,182 workers and 39,663 teachers, and rehabilitated 101,240 hectares of farmland.
“Hopefully, BRR will be recorded as a good part of history,” Kuntoro said.

The Jakarta Globe
Friday, April 17, 2009
Editorial: Taking Measure of Gains in Aceh
The Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency, or BRR, has officially closed its doors more than four years after the devastating tsunami spread a trail of death and destruction across Aceh Province on Dec. 26, 2004.
The BRR was a temporary government agency formed on April 16, 2005, with the mandate to coordinate all post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Aceh and Nias, the two northwestern Indonesian regions most affected by the monstrous earthquake-triggered tsunami that wrought widespread destruction across the rim of the Indian Ocean. Some 220,000 people were killed in the region, almost 170,000 of them in Aceh alone, where some 800 kilometers of shoreline were massively damaged.
The BRR was given the herculean task of rebuilding the shattered province. Over the last four years, the agency coordinated more than 500 agencies that managed some 12,000 projects funded to the tune of Rp 35 trillion ($3.25 billion).
BRR data shows that construction during the four years included 140,304 houses, 13 airports and airstrips, 23 seaports, 1,115 medical facilities, 1,759 schools, 3,696 kilometers of roads, 363 bridges and 996 governmental buildings. Moreover, 195,726 small and medium enterprises were give assistance, 155,182 workers and 39,663 teachers were trained and 101,240 hectares of farmland were rehabilitated.
The agency has obviously carried out its mission and purpose with integrity, foresight and commitment. The fact that Aceh was able to hold largely peaceful elections this year is an undeniable testament to its efforts.
While public attention has shifted elsewhere, we must recognize the work of the BRR under the leadership of Kuntoro Mangkusubroto. The organization has carried out its work with the highest integrity, handling billions of dollars in aid from around the world. This reflects highly on the BRR and the leader, as well as on Indonesia. Granted, such a gargantuan process could not have been entirely free from problems and irregularities, but the BRR’s determined adherence to the principles of accountability, good governance and transparency has received widespread praise from the international community.
The agency has also gradually relinquished total assets worth Rp 3.15 trillion — including buildings, roads, bridges and irrigation conduits — to provincial and regional governments in Aceh.
The people of Aceh and all Indonesians should not forget what the BRR has achieved. But more importantly, it now falls on Aceh as well as the nation to assure the good maintenance and utilization of all these reconstruction results so that they can become the initial capital for the economic and social development of Aceh and its people.

Aceh Party’s victory offers hope, concern
Hotli Simanjuntak ,  The Jakarta Post ,  BANDA ACEH   |  Sat, 04/18/2009 11:50 AM | Headlines
Former separatist combatants have managed to transform the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) into a major local political force after last week’s legislative elections.
Early official results of election vote counts show that the Aceh Party (PA), established by former rebels, secured a majority of votes in the country’s westernmost province.
As of Friday afternoon, the vote tabulation center of Aceh’s Independent Election Commission (KIP) recorded that the party has secured 37.68 percent of votes for the party, enough to allow it to dominate the Aceh legislative council. The PA’s win in Aceh had been forecast much earlier.
During the campaign period, the party’s red flags and other symbols were highly visible across the province, even in remote villages. The party was the only contestant that staged campaign rallies in all of Aceh’s regencies.
Humam Hamid, a sociologist from the Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, said the PA’s victory had nothing to do with primordialism. “Other local parties only secured a small amount of votes. They were even beaten by national parties like the Democratic Party and the Golkar Party.”
Aceh is the only province allowed under election law to have local parties contest for legislative seats in the province. There are five other local parties in Aceh aside from the PA — the People’s Aceh Party (PRA), the Acehnese People’s Independent Aspiration Party (SIRA), the United Aceh Party, the Aceh Sovereignty Party (PDA) and the Safe and Prosperous Aceh Party (PAAS).
Humam said that the PA’s victory was the logical consequence of GAM’s three-decade fight against oppressions in Aceh, and added that it was backed by loyal and well-organized supporters.
”I simply followed the trend. In the past we had voted for national parties for years, but nothing changing here. This time I vote for the PA and I will see how they are going to manage our trust,” Mahdi, a resident of Seuneubok Punti village in East Aceh, told The Jakarta Post.
Another villager, who wished to remain anonymous, said he voted for the PA because he was afraid that peace would be ruined if the party lost the election. ”It’s like having a naughty son. I simply give him what he wants and expect that he will not be naughty anymore.”
Some Acehnese, especially those who were not affected by the brutal military operations, have expressed concerns that the PA’s victory could allow it to use an “intimidation approach” to serve its political interests.
Party Spokesman Adnan Beuransyah rejected this concern. “Our internal evaluation found that former combatants can mingle very well with other community members,” he said. About 30 percent of the party’s legislative candidates are former combatants.
Humam said there should not be suspicion of the PA. “We should give them the opportunity to prove themselves to Acehnese people.”
Acehnese political observer Saifudin Bantasyam warned of high political tensions between the PA and the central government if the latter breaks its promise to implement all points in the Helsinki peace agreement, which gives full authority to the Aceh administration to manage its natural resources.

Islamist party claims unfair elections in Pidie Jaya
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sun, 04/19/2009 1:18 PM  |  National
A representative of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) in Pidie Jaya, Aceh said Sunday the party would resort to legal recourse to prove that political intimidation had occurred in the 2009 elections.
“We will collect all available evidence to prove that ballotting and tally counts in Pidie Jaya did not proceed as smoothly as expected,” PKS Pidie Jaya chairman Munirwan M. Alamy said, as quoted by Antara news agency.
He added there were indications of disruptions taking place during the April 9 elections, including intimidation by certain individuals at various polling booths.
He also said he would also cooperate with other similarly disappointed parties.
The PKS was among the parties that declined to sign off on the current tally results for Pidie Jaya at a meeting Saturday.
“Even though the results were officiated in the end, there should be an addendum that allows for our complaints,” Alamy said, adding the Pidie Jaya election observer committee (Panwaslu) had not responded positively toward elections complaints.
“They should have been more proactive to prevent any losses for parties such as ours,” he said

Aceh Newsletter April (2) 2009

Mit Meldungen und Berichten vom 6. – 12.4. 2009

Zusammengestellt von Ingo Wandelt


This Aceh Newsletter includes recent news, reports, analysis and commentaries on the General Elections (Pemilu) of April 9, 2009. The incidents in West Papua are outside the newsletter’s focus and not included here.


Jakarta Globe, April 6, 2009
Another Aceh Party Official Shot Dead Days Before Polls
Nurdin Hasan
Banda Aceh. An Aceh Party official and former separatist fighter was shot dead on Saturday night, just a few days before the legislative elections, making him the party’s fifth murder victim since February.
Langsa Police Chief Marwan Syukur said on Sunday that Muhammad Jamil bin Razali, 41, also known as Teungku Leube, was shot by two gunmen at 8:10 p.m. in Lhokbanie village, Langsa city. The incident took place just hours after some 8,000 people prayed in one of Aceh’s main mosques, Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman, for a peaceful election in the province.
Muhammad Jamil was riding his motorbike home from Peureulak, East Aceh district, to Kuala Simpang, a distance of about 60 kilometers. The victim was reported to have stopped at Bireum Bayeue, the site where the police believed the two gunmen, who were also riding motorbikes, began to follow him.
“It seems that the victim had been shadowed by the gunmen since Bireum Baeyun, and after they reached a quieter and darker place, they shot him,” Marwan said. “He was shot twice, in his chest and back.”
Muhammad Jamil was secretary of the Aceh Party’s Sagoe Bireum Bayeue subdistrict board. The party was founded by former separatist fighters of the Free Aceh Movement, or GAM, and is expected to gain the majority of seats in the legislative elections this week.
Marwan said police did not know the motive of the shooting. No bullet casings were found at the crime scene, thus the police have yet to identify the weapon used. However, police found a bullet in the victim’s body that will be sent to the North Sumatra Police crime laboratory.
Nobody saw the shooting, Marwan said, as it occurred while people were at evening prayer services. When people found Muhammad Jamil wounded, they took him to a hospital.
A local resident, Muhammad Amin, 60, said that he and his wife had heard two gunshots. “My wife told me there was a man who had fallen from his motorbike, dying. We took him straight to Langsa Hospital.”
Former GAM spokesman Teungku Cut Kafrawi said that before the peace agreement between the government and GAM was reached in Helsinki in 2005, the victim had been active in the civilian staff of the guerillas.
“I don’t want to speculate whether or not this has some connection to the election, but I want the police to reveal the motive,” he said.

Aceh Ramps Up Security Ahead of Elections
Time Magazine
Monday, April 6, 2009
By Jason Tedjasukmana
With less less than a week to go before national elections, snarled logistics and accurate voter rolls could spell disaster for the more remote regions of Indonesia. But Aceh, a province of four million people on the northern tip of Sumatra, is facing security challenges as well. After a string of attacks by unidentified gunmen over the past three months, the central government is planning to send an additional 1,000 soldiers and 260 national police to join an estimated 9,000 local police officers to help stabilize the restive province. At least 16 people have been killed in shootings and grenade attacks that have heightened suspicions between former separatist rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the military. “The authorities need to ensure security and make sure the elections will be held in an atmosphere that is conducive,” says Usman Hamid, head of the human rights watchdog Kontras, based in Jakarta. “If not spoilers could undermine the process.”
Aceh’s hard-won peace, officiated by a 2005 agreement between GAM representatives and government officials, has allowed the Acehnese to rebuild their lives and communities after three decades of fighting and the devastation of their province in the 2004 tsunami. Some 170,000 people in the province were killed the disaster. “There is little danger in the short term of violence escalating out of control, let alone a return to armed conflict,” Sidney Jones, senior adviser to the International Crisis Group (ICG), wrote in a recent report. “But the underlying causes of the tensions are not just election-related and need to be addressed if peace is to be preserved in the long term.” (See pictures from Aceh after the tsunami.)
Those tensions stem mainly from the military’s fear that many members of the Partai Aceh, or Aceh Party, still harbor dreams of independence. Others agree that the attacks, some targeting the offices of the Partai Aceh, the political vehicle established by separtist supporters, could be the surfacing of new internal feuds between former rebels. Others aren’t as sure. “There has been some violence and harassment but I’m not sure they can be associated with politics,” says Humam Hamid, a sociology professor at Syah Kuala University in Aceh.”They could also be purely criminal acts, which happen everywhere.” Regardless, many Acehnese are predicting victory for the Partai Aceh, one of six local parties joining 38 national parties in the legislative elections on April 9. “I think Partai Aceh will get the majority but am not sure by how much,” predicts Humam. A local businessman expects it to be a landslide. “I think they could get as much as 75%,” says Muni Hamid.
Concerns are growing nationwide over whether the General Elections Commission will be able to carry out and monitor the elections effectively. More than 170 million Indonesians are registered to vote in the upcoming elections that will determine the fate of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is seeking a second term and a majority in Parliament for his Democratic Party. The fate of his vice president, Jusuf Kalla, who helped broker the Aceh peace agreement signed in Helsinki in August 2005, is less clear, as his Suharto-era Golkar party is struggling to maintain the same number of seats as it won in 2004, when it finished on top.
Like the rest of Indonesia, Aceh is grappling with near double-digit unemployment, a figure that could quickly rise following the departure this month of the Aceh Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency, the public body tasked with administering billions of dollars of international aid and donations to rebuild the province after the tsunami. Tremendous progress has been made in rebuilding homes and public facilities, but some fear those gains could be lost and the peace process jeopardized if elections are not viewed as free and fair. Free and fair elections are a national concern, but some fear the Acehnese will be afraid to go out and vote if they don’t feel the electoral atmosphere is safe. “I would be very worried if the Acehnese are not allowed to exercise their right to vote,” adds Usman. “I cannot imagine that all of the (rebel) weapons have been demolished, and there is no guarantee that violence won’t break out.
Humam dismisses the fears as alarmist. “People had similar doubts about the last elections and also about maintaining the peace,” says Humam, who failed in his bid to be elected governor in provincial elections in 2006. Government officials share his optimism, calling the recent series of grenade attacks “the exception, not the rule,” and assert that safety precautions have been taken. “On April 9 you will see the elections carried out freely and fairly like everywhere else in Indonesia,” states a confident presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng, who recently made a visit to the province with the President. “Those against the process of peace will be seen as going against all the Acehnese people.”

Election: Two More Arrested in Lead-Up to Aceh Polls
The Jakarta Globe
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Farouk Arnaz
Aceh Police have arrested another two men in relation to the ongoing spate of attacks targeting the Aceh Party, or PA, ahead of the upcoming elections, a police source told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
The men, who have been transferred to the National Police headquarters in Jakarta for questioning, are understood to be Muhammad Faisal bin Nurdin, 19, and Nurdin bin Ismail, 44.
Three other men have also been arrested and are undergoing interrogation in Jakarta in relation to a series of grenade attacks in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, and to the killing of political figures from the former rebel Free Aceh Movement, or GAM, who are now represented by the Aceh Party.
The trio are Abdul Rajak bin Abdul Muthalib, 33; M Syah, alias Ayah bin Ibrahim, 35; and Irwan bin Ilyas, also known as Aneuk Geutu, 58, a police source said on condition of anonymity.
The source, however, would not discuss what organization the men were affiliated with or the motives for the attacks, only saying that they had been charged under laws restricting possession of illegal weapons and explosives.
Bachtiar Tambunan, deputy director of security and transnational affairs at the National Police, confirmed that the latest arrests were in relation to the recent grenade attacks, but refused to provide further details.
The national and provincial police are currently conducting Operation Sikat Recong in Aceh, with the aim of combating illegal firearms and explosives.
Despite pledges by leaders of political parties to engage in peaceful campaigns, election preparations in Aceh Province have been marred by acts of terror and intimidation. Police have been criticized for failing to act against those responsible.

Tensions in Aceh Ahead of Parliamentary Elections
AdnKronos International
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Jakarta: As Indonesia prepares for parliamentary elections on Thursday, the spokesperson of a local political party in the Muslim-devout Aceh province said there is tension in the area. Thirty-eight national parties are contesting the polls, with more than 170 million people eligible to vote.
“There surely is tension, but also hope,” said Ibrahim Syamsuddin, spokesman for the local Partai Aceh or Aceh Party (PA) and ex-officer of the former separatist Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) movement in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia where local parties will contest the elections alongside national parties, under a key provision in the landmark peace accord signed between GAM and Jakarta in August 2005.
Local parties in Aceh cannot field candidates for seats in the national parliament, however.
The PA is made up of former GAM rebels and has been the main target of a wave of violence that has claimed the lives of several of its members in the past few weeks.
The party is a favourite to win the polls.
“There is someone who does not want the PA to win these elections. We know who it is, but we will not react and will instead wait for the authorities to act,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim did not want to specify who the suspects are, however, within the ranks of the party there are elements affiliated with the Indonesian army (TNI). Tension between the TNI and the PA have been at an all-time high since the peace accord.
TNI elements fear that a PA victory could bring about a resurgence of separatist ambitions. However, Ibrahim denies the claims.
“We only want to improve the quality of life of the population. The issue of independence is a closed chapter, the GAM has signed the peace accord. But we want the accord to be implemented in full,” Ibrahim told AKI.
Aceh’s governor Irwandi Yusuf – also a former GAM rebel – has repeatedly said the accord signed in Helsinki was ‘watered-down’ by Jakarta.
Besides the PA, there are five other local parties which are running in the election, such as the Suara Independent Rakyat Aceh (SIRA).
“Our party looks to reinforce the dignity of the Acehnese, through respect for human rights and a system of politics that transfers power to the people,” AKI told Shadia Marhaban, a representative of SIRA.
SIRA has its roots in a non-governmental organisation, which during the conflict pushed for a referendum on independence.
“This is the past. Now we want the peace agreement to be respected.”
Although Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims in the world, it has substantial Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities. The country’s constitution recognises five religions and allows all its citizens to run for public office.
But the six presidents who have been elected since independence have all been Muslims.
All the candidates running in the forthcoming elections are Muslim.
Indonesia – also the world’s third largest democracy – has a population of 235 million people and 90 percent of them are Muslim. Most practise a moderate form of the faith.

International and Local Election-Observer to Monitor Aceh Polls
The Jakarta Globe
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Nurdin Hasan
Banda Aceh. Eight foreign election-observer organizations along with more than ten national and local organizations have already begun monitoring election activities in readiness for Thursday’s event in Aceh Province.
The Deputy Chief of the Aceh Independent Commission on Elections, Ilham Syahputra, said in Banda Aceh on Tuesday that the foreign agencies had not sent many observers.
“The European Union only assigned three observers, and they won’t do a comprehensive monitoring of the election like they did during Aceh’s 2006 gubernatorial election, for which they sent 82 observers.
“This time they will only conduct surveys, though they might come to all the districts and municipalities.”
The head of the European Union team of experts, Vic Butler, said that the team’s mission was to collect information on the election as well as monitor the process, without releasing any statement to the media. They would report their findings to the European Commission in Brussels and the European Union office in Jakarta.
The other foreign observers represented the Carter Center; the US and Australian embassies; the International Republican Institute; the International Foundation for Electoral Systems; the Asian Network for Free Elections Foundation; and the National Democracy Institute.
Ilham said that in addition to the foreign observers, seven national agencies had obtained General Elections Commission, or KPU, permits to monitor the election in Aceh.
They are the Independent Election Monitoring Committee; Lembaga Survey Indonesia, an independent polling agency; Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information; Garda Santri Nusantara Election Monitoring, an organization of students of Islamic boarding schools; the election watch committee of the Alumni of Muslim Students Association; and the Public Issue Network.
Six Aceh-based organizations are also involved in election monitoring, namely the Aceh NGO Forum; Community for Aceh Resources Development; Pidie Jaya branch of National Youth Committee; Titian Keadilan, a non-governmental organization; Association of Student Bodies and Youth Groups; and Atjech Security Group.
In the run-up to the election, Aceh, Indonesia’s western most province — which has enjoyed less than four years of freedom from armed conflict between government security forces and guerillas from the Free Aceh Movement, or GAM — has seen a mounting number of acts of violence, including assassinations, grenade attacks, terror and intimidation.

taz, 8.4.09
Wahlen in Indonesien: Islamische Parteien drohen Verluste
In Indonesien, dem größten muslimischen Land, werden bei den dritten Parlamentswahlen nach der Diktatur den islamischen Parteien Verluste, aber doch eine Schlüsselrolle prognostiziert. VON NICOLA GLASS
“Wir müssen unsere persönlichen Interessen hintenanstellen, zugunsten der Acehnesen und des indonesischen Volkes!” Das sagte Indonesiens Präsident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono kürzlich bei einem Wahlkampfauftritt in der Provinz Aceh. Yudhoyono war besorgt: Denn die Provinz an Sumatras Nordwestspitze gilt als einer der schwierigsten Orte des Wahlkampfes. In der einstigen Bürgerkriegsregion, wo erst nach dem verheerenden Tsunami ein Autonomieabkommen 2005 Frieden brachte, kam es in den vergangenen Wochen wieder mehrfach zu Gewalt. Mindestens drei Mitglieder der “Partei Aceh” waren ermordet worden. Diese gilt als politischer Flügel der einstigen Rebellenorganisation “Bewegung Freies Aceh” (GAM).
Mehr als 30 Jahre hatte die GAM für die Unabhängigkeit der rohstoffreichen Provinz gekämpft. Es sei unklar, wer hinter den Morden stecke, sagt Sidney Jones vom Jakarta-Büro der “International Crisis Group” zur taz. Doch sei das Misstrauen nicht verschwunden. Mehr als drei Jahre nach Unterzeichnung des Friedensvertrages machten viele Acehnesen das Militär für die Gewalt verantwortlich.
“Viele in der GAM glauben, das Militär wolle die Partei Aceh um jeden Preis stoppen”, so Jones. “Und im Militär sind viele davon überzeugt, dass die GAM das Ziel der Unabhängigkeit nicht aufgegeben hat und ein Sieg der Partei Aceh die Einheit Indonesiens bedroht.” Hendra Fadli von der “Kommission für Vermisste und Gewaltopfer” stimmt Jones zu: Indonesische Soldaten seien nicht geeignet, in der Provinz für Sicherheit zu sorgen, weil die Acehnesen das Militär als Teil des Problems sehen.
Allein aus Aceh haben sich sechs Parteien für die Parlamentswahlen an diesem Donnerstag qualifiziert. Insgesamt hoffen 38 Parteien auf den Sprung über die 2,5-Prozent-Hürde und auf die Gunst der mehr als 171 Millionen Wähler in Indonesien, der drittgrößten Demokratie der Welt. Laut Umfragen, die aber nicht zuverlässig sind, führen die säkularen Parteien, allen voran die “Demokratische Partei” (PD) von Präsident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, die “Demokratische Partei des Kampfes” (PDI-P) von Expräsidentin Megawati Sukarnoputri sowie “Golkar” des früheren Diktators Suharto und des jetzigen Vizepräsidenten Jusuf Kalla.
Dominierten während der letzten Wahlen 2004 noch diejenigen politischen Köpfe, welche die schrillsten und buntesten Kampagnen betrieben, rücken jetzt Sachthemen in den Vordergrund. Angesichts der globalen Wirtschaftskrise und steigender Arbeitslosigkeit fragen sich Millionen in Armut lebende Indonesier, wie es in ihrem an Korruption leidenden Land weitergehen soll. Überzeugende Antworten hat keine Partei.
Die Ergebnisse der Parlamentswahlen sind auch eine Vorentscheidung für die für Anfang Juli angesetzten Präsidentschaftswahlen. Um dabei einen eigenen Kandidaten aufstellen zu können, braucht eine Partei oder Koalition mindestens 25 Prozent der Stimmen oder 20 Prozent der 560 Parlamentssitze.
Zünglein an der Waage dürften die islamischen Parteien sein, obwohl sie laut Umfragen schlechter abschneiden dürften als 2004. Ihr nach dem Ende der Diktatur einsetzender Aufstieg könnte gestoppt sein, weil sie etwa mit dem sogenannten Anti-Pornografie-Gesetz zu sehr in das Privatleben der Bürger eingriffen. Traditionell ist Indonesiens Islam sehr moderat. “Die islamischen Parteien werden aber im Hinblick auf die Präsidentschaftswahlen eine wichtige Rolle spielen”, sagt Sunny Tanudwidjaja vom “Centre for Strategic and International Studies” (CSIS) in Jakarta. “Da PD, PDI-P und Golkar ihren eigenen Kandidaten nominieren werden, entscheidet die Unterstützung islamischer Parteien mit über die Präsidentschaft.”
Zwar ist Amtsinhaber Yudhoyono, ein liberaler Exgeneral, wieder Favorit. Doch seine erst zu den letzten Wahlen gegründete PD ist noch zu klein und das Parteiensystem zu zersplittert, als dass die PD aus eigener Kraft eine Mehrheit bekommen kann. Yudhoyono brauche auf jeden Fall parlamentarische Unterstützung, um weiter regieren zu können, meint Jones. Die islamistische “Partei für Gerechtigkeit und Wohlstand” (PKS) soll Unterstützung signalisiert haben. Aber auch die Mitbewerber waren aktiv: Vizepräsident und Golkar-Chef Kalla, der selbst mit der Präsidentschaft liebäugelt, vereinbarte mit den Spitzen der “Vereinigten Entwicklungspartei” (PPP) – der ältesten islamischen Partei Indonesiens – eine enge Zusammenarbeit.

9.4. Der Wahltag / Election Day

International Herald Tribune
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Democracy in Indonesia: The Next Test
For 3rd vote in 10 years, a million candidates and a still-fragile peace
By Peter Gelling, International Herald Tribune
Banda Aceh, Indonesia: — Indonesians head to the polls for the country’s third parliamentary election in 10 years Thursday in what is expected to be a largely peaceful affair for the world’s third largest democracy.
The only exception is in the northernmost province of Aceh, where attacks on supporters of the leading local party and mutual suspicion between former independence fighters and the military are threatening a still-fragile peace.
By most accounts, democracy is flourishing in Indonesia, no small feat considering its history of political violence and the turmoil that followed the downfall of Suharto, the country’s longtime authoritarian ruler, in 1998. Indonesians have mostly embraced the democratic process, and an energetic press faces few restrictions.
The parliamentary election Thursday is the first in which Indonesians will vote directly for a candidate rather than a political party. It is seen as an important gauge of the country’s democratic reforms since the ouster of Suharto.
More than 38 political parties are vying to win at least a fifth of the 560 seats in the national Parliament or 25 percent of the popular vote, which under new election laws would allow them to put forward a candidate to challenge the incumbent, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in the presidential election in July.
Mr. Yudhoyono and his Democratic Party are widely expected to come out on top in both the parliamentary and presidential elections. But it is not clear if he will be able to win by enough to avoid forming an unstable coalition government. Mr. Yudhoyono was forced to partner with the Golkar party, Suharto’s former political vehicle, in order to take the presidency in 2004.
“If he does as well as everyone expects he will in the parliamentary polls, he will be very confident heading into presidential elections and will be able to choose an independent as his vice president, someone as committed to reform as he is,” said Mohammad Qodari, a political analyst and pollster. “He is understandably reluctant to pair up with another political party. He always felt he was held back by his partnership with Golkar.”
Mr. Yudhoyono, a former general, is the country’s first directly elected president. He is credited with helping to stabilize the economy, which has so far weathered the global financial crisis more successfully than any of its regional counterparts. Mr. Yudhoyono’s administration has pushed through free-market reforms that have encouraged more foreign investment in a country long considered risky.
His administration has also made strides, though sometimes slowly, in routing endemic graft by establishing an independent court specially tasked with prosecuting corruption cases.
The elections are a huge undertaking for this mostly Muslim country of 240 million people sprawled out over hundreds of far-flung islands, and problems are nearly inevitable. Some 170 million registered voters are expected to choose among 11,000 candidates for the national legislature and about one million candidates for provincial and local legislatures.
During gubernatorial elections in East Java earlier this year, investigators found that voter lists included children, the dead and the fictitious. Election monitors said they were concerned about similar fraud in the national elections.
Also, of about 550,000 polling stations across Indonesia, many had not received ballots a day before polls opened. Still other polling stations reported ballots being destroyed amid heavy rainfall over the last few weeks. A new system for punching the ballots is also expected to cause confusion.
There will be a massive security operation to keep the peace on election day, though only in Aceh, where a surge in violence has taken place in recent months, and in the remote province of Papua, where security officials say there might be problems.
It is in the days and weeks following the election that officials worry disputes could lead to nationwide instability, demonstrations or even violence. Already, several major parties have said they would consider rejecting the results due to the pre-election chaos.
”This could easily turn into a national brawl,” said Mr. Qodari, the political analyst and pollster. ”There will almost surely be challenges from the losers on both the local and national level. We are all going to court after this election. Let’s hope it doesn’t spill into the streets.”
Aceh, where local parties will for the first time compete for local seats against the more established national parties, is possibly the region with the greatest potential for instability.
The Free Aceh Movement fought for independence for nearly 30 years before it signed a peace agreement with the Yudhoyono government in 2005, months after the massive tsunami and earthquake that killed 170,000 people in the region.
A central element of the peace deal is the right to establish local political parties.
In the months leading up to the election, dozens of grenade attacks, shootings and other forms of intimidation have been directed toward the Aceh Party, the political vehicle of the former rebels. Five Aceh Party officials have been shot dead by unknown assailants, one as recently as April 4.
”I am, of course, nervous. For instance, I try not to travel the streets late at night,” said Oki Tiba, a candidate for the Aceh Party. ”The peace here is still tenuous and I worry if the police don’t solve these crimes, the peace could be in jeopardy.”
Despite several arrests, the police have remained quiet about who might be behind the attacks. As a result, Banda Aceh is awash in rumors, conspiracy theories, suspicion and paranoia.
Aceh Party officials are careful not to accuse anyone of the attacks publicly, but there is no doubt among the party’s rank and file that the military is to blame. Many in the military suspect that the former rebels still harbor hopes for independence and regard Aceh Party success at the polls as a potential threat to national unity.
Others, however, think the attacks amount to personal vendettas among former rebels playing themselves out in the months before elections.
”It’s difficult now to analyze who is responsible for the terror and intimidation of the Aceh Party. It could be anybody with any reasons, including personal business,” said Jafar, 38, a humanitarian worker in the capital, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
”But one thing for sure is it leads to tension and is disrupting the peace here,” Jafar said. ”I hope people can keep a cool head during and after the elections.”
A report by the International Crisis Group in March found little chance of a return to armed conflict in Aceh in the short term. But if the underlying mistrust between the military and the various groups representing the former rebels is not addressed, there could be serious problems in the long term, the report said.
”Getting through the election with a minimum of violence is the short-term goal,” Robert Templer, the group’s Asia director, said in a statement. ”The longer-term objective should be to bolster the peace, but both sides will have to make concrete steps to address problems in their own ranks before any confidence-building measure will work.”

Peaceful Election in Aceh
Thursday, 09 April, 2009 | 16:20 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Banda Aceh: The 2009 election ran peacefully at some places that used to be hotbeds of conflict in Aceh. “There is no report yet about any fights in Aceh,” said head of electoral oversight committee in Aceh, Nyak Arif Fadillah, Thursday (9/4) via phone.
He explained that 10,271 voting stations in Aceh are categorized as sensitive 2; sensitive 1; and less sensitive. “We have been checking out the situation since morning,” said Nyak Arief.
Tempo discovered that the election ran peacefully at Cot Keueng in Kutabaro sub-district, Aceh Besar. This place used to be sensitive . “Everything is safe,” Thaleb, a resident, told Tempo.
He said that residents who were involved with the conflict between the Indonesian military and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) are enthusiastic to vote for the 2009 election. Thaleb expected the election process to remain peaceful. “We are tired of living with conflicts,” he said.

Europäische Union verweigert Einreise
Liste der unsicheren Airlines wächst
Die EU-Kommission hat weitere Luftfahrtunternehmen auf ihre “Schwarze Liste” gesetzt und ihnen somit ein Flugverbot in der Europäischen Union erteilt.
Wegen Sicherheitsbedenken dürfen nun sechs Unternehmen aus Kasachstan, eines aus Thailand, eine Fluggesellschaft aus der Ukraine sowie sämtliche Luftfahrtunternehmen aus dem afrikanischen Benin mit ihren Flugzeugen im europäischen Luftraum nicht mehr fliegen.
Etwa 200 Airlines dürfen nicht ‘rein
“Die Flugreisenden haben Anspruch darauf, sich beim Start ihres Flugzeuges sicher zu fühlen und sicher zu sein”, teilte Verkehrskommissar Antonio Tajani mit.
Auf der neuen Liste wurde kein Unternehmen gestrichen. Besonders Airlines aus Afrika und Asien sind vom Flugverbot im EU-Luftraum betroffen. So stehen auf der Liste unter anderem One Two Go Airlines aus Thailand und die indonesische Riau-Airlines. Insgesamt sind rund 200 Unternehmen betroffen.
Die „Schwarze Liste“ der EU-Kommission:

Local party claims winning vote in Aceh
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Fri, 04/10/2009 12:19 PM  |  Election 2009
The Aceh Party, the leading local party in Aceh whose members mostly include former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) combatants, claimed winning the popular vote in the province.
“Temporary vote result on Thursday night shows that the Aceh Party won 70 percent votes,” said Tengku Adnan Beuransyah, the party spokesman, as quoted by Antara in the province capital Banda Aceh on Friday.
Antara news agency reported that 19 of 21 cities and regencies in the province have reported their vote counting by Thursday night.
The party won 80 to 98 percent votes in from its loyal supporters in Bieruen, North Aceh, East Aceh and Nagan Raya regencies. In other regencies, including Aceh Besar, Southwest Aceh, Gayo Luas and Aceh Singkil, the party won 65 to 75 percent votes. In the province capital Banda Aceh, it won 50 percent of vote.
“We predict that we will have better result after the counting over,” said Beuransyah.

April 10, 2009 Nurdin Hasan
Aceh Party Claims Historic Victory in Provincial Polls
The Aceh Party, founded by former guerrilla fighters of the Free Aceh Movement, or GAM, declared victory on Friday in provincial legislative elections held the previous day.
It was the first time in Indonesian history that a region-based political party was allowed to contest a poll, and the Aceh Party made the most of it, claiming a stranglehold on the provincial legislature.
“Based on the reports we received from our party’s election observers at polling stations around Aceh, the party has won 75 percent of the vote,” said Adnan Beuransyah, a party spokesman.
He said vote tallies for the Aceh Party were nearly 90 percent in regions such as Pidie district, Pidie Jaya, Bireuen, North Aceh, East Aceh and Lhokseumawe city, which were GAM strongholds during its 29-year conflict with the Indonesian Armed Forces.
‘As we already know, we used to fight with weapons. But the Aceh Party belongs to all the people of Aceh.’
Adnan Beuransyah, Aceh Party spokesman
However, Aceh’s Independent Election Commission, or KIP, has not yet announced any official results from Thursday’s polls, which were also contested by leading national parties. Results from an independent quick count had also not been released by late Friday.
Under the peace agreement that GAM and the central government signed in August 2005, Aceh-based political parties were allowed to contest provincial elections and were exempted from a national law requiring parties to have branches across the country.
Six local parties battled 37 national parties for 69 seats in Aceh’s provincial legislature and 645 seats on district and municipal councils. Several sources said the Aceh Party also won a majority of seats on the councils, but there was no official confirmation.
Violent incidents marred the campaign season in the province, including the slaying of five Aceh Party candidates. Tension between the party and military forces stationed there was also evident. Election Day, however, was notably peaceful.
Thursday was also the first time that former GAM members voted in a legislative election.
“As we already know, we used to fight with weapons,” said Adnan, who joined GAM as a boy and spent nine years in prison for treason. “But the Aceh Party belongs to all the people of Aceh.”

National Elections: Aceh Province Enjoys Peaceful Vote
Agence France Presse
Saturday, April 11, 2009
INDONESIA: National elections in Indonesia’s Aceh province went ahead peacefully on Thursday following the murders in the lead-up to the vote of former rebels who had become politicians.
The general election for local assemblies and the national parliament is the first in the province on Sumatra island since a 2005 peace deal ended more than 30 years of civil war that killed 15,000 people.
The Aceh Party of former rebels of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), allowed to participate in the election as part of the 2005 deal, was expected to dominate here.
However, there had been fears of violence after five formers rebels had been gunned down in recent months — believed to be connected to the elections.
“I believe the elections in Aceh are going safely, despite several quite sensitive areas,” Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said.
Fadli, a 43-year-old builder who spent years commanding a GAM guerrilla unit in the mountains, said the vote was his first chance to peacefully shape the province’s future. “Today the Acehnese people vote for the future of democracy in Aceh. Us former members of GAM are participating in the elections for the first time,” Fadli said.
“Election results will be the basis to build a better future for Aceh. I hope that the Aceh Party will win,” he added.
Peaceful voting in Aceh was matched by largely orderly polling across Indonesia, a sprawling Muslim-majority archipelago of 171 million registered voters and the world’s third-largest democracy.
The exception was in the country’s restive eastern Papua region, where five people were killed in separate incidents overnight.
Nationwide, voting for the country’s parliament is expected to favour the Democratic Party of incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ahead of the presidential election in July.

Aceh local parties seek full implementation of Helsinki pact after likely po
Alfian,  THE JAKARTA POST ,  BANDA ACEH   |  Sat, 04/11/2009 1:43 PM  |  Election 2009
Three local Acehnese parties likely to take easy victories in Thursday’s legislative election are seeking the full implementation of the Helsinki peace agreement and the settlement of unresolved human rights abuses that occurred during nearly 30 years of bloody conflict.
The peace pact was signed by the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in 2005 to end the 29-year conflict which claimed more than 2000 lives. The parties claim points within this pact and the 2006 Aceh administration law have not yet been fully implemented, affecting democracy and people’s welfare in the area.
The Aceh Party (PA), the Acehnese People’s Independent Aspiration Party (SIRA), and the People’s Aceh Party (PRA) have all claimed victory in the legislative polls and said that if they gain greater power at the provincial and regency levels they will argue for the pact to be rolled out in full.
The peace agreement stipulates that Aceh should have its own authority in dealing with domestic affairs, with the exception being international relations, defense and security, monetary and fiscal affairs and judicial and religious affairs. Those must remain under control of the central government.
Adnan Beuransyah, spokesperson for the Aceh Party, told The Jakarta Post recently that the terms on power between the provincial administration and the central government were still unclear.
“According to the MOU, all business and investment permits are supposed to be issued by Aceh authorities, but in reality, the current conditions are no different from the past,” Adnan said. He claimed permits in two sectors could only be issued with approval from the central government, and this had hampered the inflow of foreign investment to the province and the planned development of Sabang into an international free port.
Adnan said the MOU also stipulated that 70 percent of oil and gas revenue from Aceh would go to the province while the remaining 30 percent would be directed to the central government. “Up until today, there has been no external audit on oil and gas revenues. Aceh has never known how much revenue actually comes from oil and gas exploration.”
Vice governor Muhammad Nazar said there were numerous unresolved problems regarding the peace pact which needed to be settled.
Also chairman of the patron board of SIRA, Nazar said to date the regional government had not been involved in calculating the revenue from oil and gas reserves.
SIRA will be seeking a review of the fiscal relationship between the province and the central government in terms of the exploration of natural resources, and will argue that the provincial government should play an active role in calculating the government’s revenue from the provincial mining sector.


vor der Wahl / pre-election:
Indonesians vote for new parliament
Robin McDowell ,  The Associated Press ,  Jakarta   |  Thu, 04/09/2009 7:46 AM  |  Election 2009
Legislative elections Thursday could determine if President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will have enough support to win a second five-year term needed to push through aggressive economic and institutional reforms.
Violence flared hours before the first polling stations opened in the easternmost province of Papua, the scene of a decades-long insurgency, killing at least six people, said local police chief Maj. Gen. Bagus Ekodanto.
But by midmorning, the situation appeared calm, with voters forming long lines to cast ballots.
The outcome of Thursday’s election for a new 560-member legislature is being closely watched because it will determine who will qualify to run for president in July.
The party or coalition that wins a fifth of the seats – or 25 percent of the popular vote – can nominate a candidate for that race.
Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party is expected to come out on top, but with more than 170 million people registered to vote and 38 parties to choose from, nothing is certain. Other front-runners are the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle headed by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the largest party, Golkar.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, emerged from 32 years of dictatorship under Gen. Suharto in 1998, leading to reforms that freed the media, struck down repressive laws and, in 200, allowed citizens to vote for president for the first time. It is often held up as a beacon of how Islam and democracy can go hand-in-hand.
If Yudhoyono’s party wins 26 percent of the popular vote, as some opinion polls predict, he will not have to cobble together an alliance with others seen to be less willing to tackle corruption, overhaul the judiciary and streamline bureaucracy.
“At this moment it looks like he’s going to make it,” said Dede Oetomo, a political analyst from Airlangga University in the city of Surabaya.
Last time around, the Democrats won just 7 percent of the vote, forcing Yudhoono, eventually, to partner up with Golkar and a handful of Islamic parties that tried to push through laws governing everything from the way women dressed to the types of magazines that could be hawked on street corners.
Analysts say these elections could see the popularity of religious parties, which did well in 2004, waning. Most of the secular country’s 210 million Muslims practice a moderate form of the faith.
“As long as these parties try to push through Islamic-based laws, they are going to keep losing support,” said Syafiie Maarif, an Islamic scholar. “They need to come up with a broader, policy-based platform, like fighting poverty.”
Campaigns across the board were largely personality driven and policies have been broad and ill-defined, focusing on issues like the effect the global slowdown has had on the economy or the need to root out pervasive corruption.
Unlike 2004, security is no longer a big issue, something many credit to Yudhoyono.
Indonesia was last hit by an al-Qaida-linked terrorist attack four years ago and, thanks to a 2005 peace deal, guns have largely fallen silent in formerly war-torn Aceh province, on the country’s northwestern tip.
Aceh and Papua are the only places that have been hit by pre-election violence, but it is not expected to spiral out of control.
Papuan police chief Maj. Gen. Bagus Ekodanto said more than 80 suspected rebels attacked a police post in the provincial capital, Jayapura, with machetes and spears at around 1 a.m. Thursday, leaving four dead in thelash that followed.
Elsewhere, he said, rebels who want Papua to break from Indonesia stabbed several motorcycle taxi drivers, burned an oil depot and property at a state university, leaving two others dead.
Voters, who had been told to boycott the vote, refused to be intimidated.
“I think everything should be solved in a peaceful way. That’s why I’m out here today,” said Leonard Tuilan.
In addition to a national parliament, elections were being held Thursday for a new provincial and local legislatures and councils.
The Indonesian Survey Institute poll showed the Democratic Party would win 26 percent of the popular vote; the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle 14 percent; and Golkar 13 percent. The four Islamic-based parties each came in at around 4 percent. The survey, based on interviews with 2,486 people, had a margin of error of 2.3 percent.
Associated Press Writers Zakki Hakim, Niniek Karmini and Ali Kotarumalos contributed to this report from Jakarta.

Vote counting requires strict monitoring
The Jakarta Post ,  JAKARTA   |  Thu, 04/09/2009 10:48 AM  |  Election 2009
New voting procedures greatly raise the possibility of manipulation and fraud, including vote buying, false ballots and voter names, during election day and vote counting.
Election monitoring groups vowed Wednesday they would strictly monitor the voting and counting process, although they accepted the complex new procedures would slow the counting of ballots and the announcing of winners.
“We believe many things might happen during vote counting, especially if people are tired after the long elections day,” a member of the Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu), Wahidah Suaib, said Wednesday.
“We have made a simulation involving 350 voters. The vote counting process for the House
of Representative [DPR] members and Regional Representatives Council [DPD] was not finished until after 6 p.m.”
Wahidah added if polling station working committees (KPPS) also had to count votes for regional councils, the process would not finish until the middle of the night, assuming the polling stations’ witnesses agreed with the results.
“If they don’t agree, it might take much longer. Perhaps until morning.”
Hadar Nafis Gumay of the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro) had a similar opinion, saying the vote counting process was complicated and would be easy to manipulate by certain people or parties.
“The polling stations’ working committees will have to work together to prevent fraud.”
He said fraud usually occurred at subdistrict and district levels.
According to Wahidah, the election law stipulated the vote counting process be finished before 6 p.m.
“If we pass that time, we have violated the law. But I think it is better than to count the votes next day, because manipulation could occur more easily,” she said.
“There are many things voters should be on alert for in this election, like vote buying, intimidation or violence, the neutrality of security officers, their right to vote, double voter lists, election logistics, and the vote counting process.”
Hadar said vote buying had been emerging in the past two days, with parties or legislative candidates eager to bribe voters.
“Of course it will be difficult to prove this, but it is happening now.”
Meanwhile, Wahida said the elections supervisory body and 14 other monitoring groups were ready to closely monitor the legislative elections.
Among the groups are Cetro, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the People’s Voters Education Network (JPPR), the Indonesian Parliamentary Watchdog (Formappi), Lima Indonesia and the Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (KIPP).
“We will monitor certain polling stations in Jakarta such as at hospitals, military compounds and slum areas,” Wahidah said.
According to Wahidah, military compounds needed to be monitored to assure their neutrality.
“We are also concerned with slum areas, as we know people in these areas are easily manipulated,” she said.

April 8, 2009 Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Febriamy Hutapea, Muninggar Sri Saraswati, & Sally Piri
Millions Set to Hit Polls As Election Day Arrives
Tens of millions of voters are flocking to polling stations across the country this morning to cast ballots in national and regional legislative elections, the results of which will have huge implications for the presidential election scheduled for July.
Independent quick count surveys for the national race are expected to be announced this evening, while early official results are not likely to begin showing any trends until at least Friday.
There are more than 171 million eligible voters for today’s elections, the country’s third straight free and fair national vote since 1999. The hopes of thousands of legislative candidates, who spent considerable financial and emotional resources in campaigning for one of 560 seats in the House of Representatives, 1,770 seats on provincial legislative councils or 13,525 places on district councils, now rest with the voters.
Until the vote-counting begins, the big national political parties with massive budgets and the smaller, regional parties with limited resources and hopes, are dead even.
On Wednesday, having endured several months of informal politicking and television advertising, and weeks of pep rallies, public dialogues and street rallies, some people still appeared to be caught in the election spirit.
In some upscale areas in Jakarta, such as the Pondok Indah housing complex and Menteng, election staff members were hard at work. They erected attractive tents and arranged chairs and other decorative items as if they were organizing a wedding reception.
“We want to have a proper voting day,” said Pratikno, one of the polling booth officials.
At a polling station in Bogor, West Java Province, dozens of people were busy preparing and decorating simple tents for the voting booths. Some were arranging chairs in the waiting area, while others were installing a sound system. Another group was busy decorating the tents with potted plants.
In the city of Yogyakarta, officials opted to erect polling booths using batik fabric and bamboo as they did not have enough money for wood and aluminum as suggested by the General Elections Commission, or KPU.
But anticipation over today’s vote remained overshadowed to the end by organizational problems, including the distribution of materials to remote polling stations, concerns of possible legal disputes from the results of national and regional races, and allegations of manipulation of the permanent list of registered voters.
Some large parties continued to claim many voters would not be able to cast votes because their names had been mistakenly excluded from the final voters list.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono addressed the issues at the State Palace during a video teleconference with the country’s governors on Wednesday.
“None of the provinces ever expected to be accused of carrying out such manipulation [because] it would tear down their dignity and honor,” he said. “We all have morals and honor. None of the district heads, mayors or governors have the intention to manipulate.”
Legislative elections in four districts in Papua Province were forced to be postponed because election materials failed to get to polling stations due to bad weather and poor transportation, Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu said.
“We have prepared for the worst,” he said, adding that military helicopters were carrying the final supplies to remote polling stations. “If the supplies do not reach certain polling places on time, we will hold the elections on April 10 or April 11.”
Armed Forces spokesman Air Vice Marshal Sagom Tamboen said military personnel, who do not have the right to vote, would remain in their barracks and headquarters today, except for those deployed to back up hundreds of thousands of police officers handling election security.
“If you see military officers around the polling booths, please report it to the closest military station,” he said.

Zeit online, 9.4.09
Superwahltag im Inselreich
Von Angela Köckritz, Jakarta
1,6 Millionen Kandidaten, 16.000 Mandate, 170 Millionen Wahlberechtigte – die Wahlen in Indonesien sind eine logistische Herausforderung
Krankenhäuser in ganz Indonesien halten schon exklusiv ausgestattete VIP-Räume bereit: Für jene Politiker, die bei den Wahlen am heutigen Donnerstag nicht gewinnen, und deswegen unter Depressionen leiden.
Schließlich haben sie viel Geld in den Wahlkampf investiert: Indonesische Politiker sind vor allem aufs eigene Vermögen angewiesen. Manchmal kann das richtig teuer werden. Ein Bekannter erzählte von einem Politiker, der einen Pfarrer besuchte, um seine Unterstützung zu ersuchen. Der sagte: “Du kannst gerne meine 6000 Stimmen haben (er sprach von seiner Gemeinde), doch bräuchten wir einen neuen Sportplatz…“
An allen Ecken und Enden hängen Wahlplakate, eine schier unübersichtliche Zahl an lächelnden Gesichtern. 12.000 Kandidaten von 38 Parteien bewarben sich um die 550 Sitze des Parlamentes, das zum dritten Mal seit der Demokratisierung des Landes 1999 neu gewählt wurde. Zur Abstimmung standen in dem riesigen Inselreich außerdem die Abgeordneten der Regional- und Provinzparlamente sowie die Gemeinde- und Stadträte. Zusammengerechnet buhlten damit fast 1,6 Millionen Kandidaten um 16.000 politische Mandate. 170 Millionen Bürger waren zur Wahl aufgerufen.
Die Wahl war vor allem eine logistische Herausforderung: Indonesien besteht aus mehr als 17.000 Inseln, die sich über 5000 Kilometer und drei Zeitzonen erstrecken. Angehörige einiger Minderheiten wie zum Beispiel der Papuer können nicht lesen und benötigten einen eigenen Helfer, um ihre Stimme abzugeben. Und zu lesen gibt es einiges: Jeder Wähler bekam vier dicke Wahlzettel im Format von Zeitungen.
Die Parlamentswahl wird darüber entscheiden, welche Parteien einen eigenen Präsidentschaftskandidaten für die Abstimmung im Juli küren können, wenn die Indonesier zum zweiten Mal direkt einen Präsidenten wählen. Am wahrscheinlichsten erscheint ein Duell zwischen dem Amtsinhaber Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono und der früheren Präsidentin Sukarnoputri Megawati.
In der Provinz Papua kam es am Mittwoch und Donnerstag zu Ausschreitungen. Etwa 100 Separatisten stürmten mit Gewehren, Pfeilen und Bögen bewaffnet eine Polizeistation in Jayapura, einer von ihnen wurde dabei erschossen. Bei zwei anderen Angriffen kamen fünf weitere Menschen zu Tode. Die Vorfälle überschatteten eine ansonsten friedliche Wahl.
Den ersten Hochrechnungen zufolge führt Yudhoyonos Partei mit fast 20 Prozent der Stimmen. Die bislang stärkste Partei Golkar des 1998 gestürzten Diktators Suharto, fiel dagegen auf etwa 13 Prozent ab. Das Endergebnis wird allerdings erst am 9. Mai veröffentlicht.

Basler Zeitung, 9.4.09
Schwere Gewalt überschattet indonesische Wahlen
Sechs Tote in der Provinz Papua und gewalttätige Auseinandersetzungen zwischen Polizei und Demonstranten. Das ist die erschütternde Bilanz zum Start der Parlamentswahlen in Indonesien.
Unter anderem griffen in der Nähe der Stadt Jayapura rund 100 Menschen eine Polizeistation an, wie die Regierung mitteilte. Bei einem Schusswechsel erschossen Polizisten einen Menschen. In Papua, wo die Wahlen des sich über drei Zeitzonen erstreckenden Archipels mit seinen 6000 bewohnten Inseln begonnen hatten, hatten Separatisten zu einem Wahlboykott aufgerufen. Der Polizeichef von Papua vermutete daher, die Vorfälle deuteten darauf hin, «dass es Menschen gibt, die diese Wahlen scheitern sehen wollen.»
In dem Land mit der zahlenmässig grössten muslimischen Bevölkerung der Welt sind am Donnerstag rund 171 Millionen Menschen aufgerufen, über die Vergabe der 560 Sitze im Parlament zu entscheiden. Die Wahllokale schliessen um 7 Uhr MESZ. Erste Schätzungen wurden Stunden nach Schliessung der rund 520’000 Wahllokale erwartet. Mit amtlichen Ergebnissen wird erst in ein bis zwei Wochen gerechnet.
Vorentscheid für Präsidentschaft
Es ist die dritte Wahl seit dem Sturz der autoritären Suharto- Regierung 1998. Der Ausgang der Parlamentswahl hat auch Auswirkungen auf die Präsidentschaftswahl im Juli. Parteien, die über 25 Prozent der Stimmen oder 20 Prozent der Sitze verfügen, dürfen einen eigenen Kandidaten für das höchste Staatsamt aufstellen.
Amtsinhaber Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono von der liberalkonservativen Demokratischen Partei (PD) bewirbt sich um ein zweites Mandat. Die Präsidentenpartei gilt Umfragen zufolge bei der Parlamentswahl als Favoritin. Neu gewählt wurden ausser dem Abgeordnetenhaus auch die Regionalversammlung sowie die Vertretungen auf Provinz- und Kommunalebene.

Nach der Wahl / Post-election

Yudhoyono’s Party Ahead in Early Sampling Counts
Thursday, 09 April, 2009 | 23:37 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won most votes in the military and police housing complex in Bandung, West Java, as sampling counts conducted by major local pollsters showed the retired army general looked set for a second term of presidency and for the first time bring his party to take control of the parliament.
His second son Edhie Baskoro who is running for a parliamentary seat, reportedly also lead the polls in an election locale in East Java, where his campaigning team reportedly have involved in money politics to secure votes in the area.
Its only the second election for Democratic Party which was founded in 2001, compared to the ninth for Golkar Party since the first one in 1971, losing only one of the elections to Megawati’s Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in 1999.
Sampling counts for this year’s legislative council suggested that Democratic Party to grab the majority of votes for the first time in its less than 8 years of existence, while seeing Golkar overthrown once again from the parliament helm.
Official result by the Central Election Commission is expected within around two weeks.

Indonesia Polls Show Policies Not At Risk – Rating Agencies
By Gde Anugrah Arka
JAKARTA, April 9 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s economic policies are not at risk, based on early quick count results in Thursday’s parliamentary elections which put the Democrat Party in the lead, credit rating analysts said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party has about one fifth of the votes, ahead of Megawati Sukarnoputri’s PDI-P and vice president Jusuf Kalla’s Golkar Party, based on the quick count results from sample polling stations, but did not do as well as some recent opinion polls had indicated.
That means Yudhoyono will have to form a coalition, either with his current partner Golkar or with one or two small Islamist parties, potentially making it harder for him to push ahead with reform of the civil service, judiciary and the police, and tackling graft in order to attract investment and spur growth.
Despite the expected slower pace of reform, analysts said the government’s policies were likely to remain market-friendly.
Kahlil Rowter, president director of rating agency Pefindo, an affiliate of Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, said he did not expect any radical changes in terms of economic policies.
“In terms of longer-term issues such as unemployment and poverty, there may be slight differences in how they see the issues, some may want protectionism, some others want to have more policies to benefit small firms,” Rowter said.
Indonesia’s unemployment rate is 8.4 percent, according to the most recent data from the end of August, one of the highest in the Asian region, while millions live on less than $2 a day.
“There are differences in how to tackle these issues among the parties but there is no surprising element such as proposing policies which are against investment or those that are not,” Rowter said.
He added that Yudhoyono, who is favourite to win a second five-year term in the July presidential election, would have stronger support in parliament with less need to rely on other political parties.
That would “make it easier for him in terms of cabinet line-up, without having to allocate a large number of cabinet posts to political parties.”
In the existing rainbow cabinet, some of the economic portfolios including agriculture, industry, and economic planning are held by politicians from the various parties.
Technocrats hold a couple of key economic posts: respected economist Sri Mulyani Indrawati is both finance minister and chief economics minister, while Mari Pangestu, is trade minister.
Some economists have blamed the different political interests of the economic ministers for the slow decision-making process in the cabinet.
Ai Ling Ngiam, sovereign analyst and director at Fitch Ratings, said that the composition of any coalition would determine whether Indonesia stays on track with the structural reform agenda, especially in terms of making the country a more attractive investment destination.
“The government has yet to make progress on infrastructure development and contentious policy issues, such as legal uncertainty and onerous labour legislation,” Ngiam said in an e-mail to Reuters. “Fitch believes addressing these issues could provide Indonesia with a greater edge to attract foreign investment, increase its export competitiveness and bring its income and development indicators closer to those of its BB rating peers.” Fitch rates Indonesia BB, two notches below investment grade, along with countries such as neighbouring Philippines, while Malaysia is rated investment grade at A-.

April 10, 2009 Jakarta Globe
Democrats Take Early Lead in Peaceful Polls, but Errors Abound
Indonesia on Thursday held its third round of democratic general elections since the fall of President Suharto in 1998, picking regional and national legislators with few signs of violence or disturbances despite logistical problems blamed on poor pre-poll preparations in some areas and concerns over alleged voter list manipulation.
In Papua Province, four people were killed before the polls opened, but elsewhere the elections were largely peaceful, if sometimes chaotic, as polling booths across the country mostly opened at 7 a.m. and closed five hours later on a day declared a public holiday.
There were more than 171 million eligible voters to elect members of the 560-seat House of Representatives, and to fill 1,770 seats in provincial legislatures and 13,525 seats on district councils. Polling stations seemed especially active in the morning, with many voters casting their ballots early to get a head start on the long weekend. Today is Good Friday, which marks the death of Jesus Christ, and is a national holiday.
Early “quick count” results from several groups on Thursday evening showed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, or PD, with about 20 percent of the national vote, triple the party’s 7 percent showing in 2004. The Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, were next in the race, with about 15 percent each.

April 10, 2009 Febriamy Hutapea, Sally Piri & Muninggar Sri Saraswati
Despite Quick Count Disappointment, Golkar, PDI-P Refuse to Concede
Unofficial quick count results from more than a dozen polling groups show that the Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono scored a decisive victory in Thursday’s national legislative elections.
Although the General Elections Commission, or KPU, will not announce the official result until May 9, pollsters across the board showed a clear lead for the Democrats. The KPU is expected to begin releasing preliminary results beginning at 2 p.m. today.
The Indonesian Survey Institute, or LSI, polled the Democratic Party winning with 20.41 percent of the vote; followed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, with 14.58 percent; and the Golkar Party third with 13.98 percent. The institute took samples from 2,000 polling stations across the country.
“The Democratic Party won the vote because the party was associated with the popular figure, Yudhoyono, who had several popular policies like decreasing fuel prices and direct cash aid,” LSI director Denny JA said.
The Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information, or LP3ES, showed the Democratic Party winning with 19.6 percent of the vote. Golkar and the PDI-P were nearly tied with 14.9 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively.
If the official KPU results mirror the quick counts, the 2009 legislative elections will be seen as a monumental win for the Democratic Party, which only took 7.5 percent of the vote in 2004, and a bitter pill to swallow for Golkar, which won the polls five years ago with 21.6 percent. The PDI-P fared slightly worse this time around after taking 18.5 percent in 2004.
Lili Romli, a political observer with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said pre-election predictions of a big victory for Yudhoyono and the Democrats proved unerringly accurate.
“So, it’s the Yudhoyono factor, as the incumbent’s polices received a positive response from the public, especially his … pro-people programs,” he said.
The Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, only managed to tread water compared to the last elections, winning about 7.5 percent; and the National Mandate Party was fifth, with 5.77 percent, based on the quick counts. Two other parties of interest, Gerindra and Hanura, both won less than 5 percent of the vote, according to most counts.
However, the Democratic Party wasn’t willing to declare victory Thursday night and other major political parties weren’t willing to concede defeat until official results were released.
“As we’re only human, we are glad about the current results,” said Marzuki Alie, secretary general of the Democratic Party, “but we don’t want to be overwhelmed, as this is a mandate that the people have given to us. This also means that we will carry heavier responsibilities in the future.”
Vice President Jusuf Kalla, chairman of the Golkar Party, said Golkar would not rely on the quick counts because they were not official results.
“Golkar cannot respond to things that are still based on opinion, unless [the result] is proven,” Kalla told a press conference.
Arif Budimanta, a PDI-P central board chairman, said he did not want to comment until the official results were declared.

April 10, 2009 Camelia Pasandaran & M. Junianto Sihaloho
Bawaslu Finds 154 Election Violations
The Elections Supervisory Board, or Bawaslu, said it had found 154 violations throughout the country during Thursday’s legislative elections.
“At least 45 of the 154 cases were about voter list data. The number of violations might increase because we’re still waiting for reports from other provinces,” said Bawaslu chairman Nur Hidayat Sardini, adding that voter lists were the top problem during the elections.
He said Bawaslu members had also discovered a fake polling station in Buperwaena, Jayapura.
Bawaslu member Wirdyaningsih said violations were reported in 31 provinces, including North Sumatra, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Papua.
“In Palembang [South Sumatra Province], we found a subdistrict election official who was intimidating voters into choosing a certain party,” Wirdyaningsih said.
Bawaslu said that the General Elections Commission, or KPU — as well as local election officials — had failed to serve voters effectively. Most elections officials also failed to adhere to proper procedures throughout the country, it said.
“We’ve urged officials to investigate all complaints,” Wirdyaningsih said.
Prayoga, a member of Jakarta’s Elections Supervisory Committee, or Panwaslu, said voter lists had been changed by subdistrict election officials at several polling stations in East Jakarta.
Names of people who had died or moved elsewhere were replaced with the names of citizens who wanted to vote but were not listed, he said.
“These are violations of the election law,” he said.
Officials found voters who voted twice in East and South Jakarta. And in North Jakarta, Prayoga said, subdistrict election officials were still registering voters after the noon deadline.
Meanwhile, the Indonesia Parliamentary Center said on Thursday that it had determined that many hospital patients in Jakarta had not voted because election officials had failed to provide special polling station and ballots.
More than 500 patients at Harapan Kita Hospital in West Jakarta were supposed to vote at a polling station behind the hospital, said Sulastio, the center’s director. “The KPU failed to provide ballots so patients could vote,” he said.

Democratic Party leads KPU’s official count
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Fri, 04/10/2009 3:26 PM  |  Election 2009
Democratic Party is leading in the temporary official counting of legislative election results by the General Election Commission (KPU) by gaining 28.649 votes or 20.94 percent as of 3 p.m on Friday.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) came second with 20.359 votes or 14.88 percent, while Golongan Karya (Golkar) party at the third place with 19.199 votes or 14.03 percent.
Following at the fourth spot is the Properous and Justice Party (PKS) that collected 11.950 votes or 8.73 percent. The National Awakening Party (PKB) got 10.706 votes or 7.8 percent and was at the fifth place.

April 10, 2009 Jakarta Globe
Democrats Take Early Lead in Peaceful Polls, but Errors Abound
Indonesia on Thursday held its third round of democratic general elections since the fall of President Suharto in 1998, picking regional and national legislators with few signs of violence or disturbances despite logistical problems blamed on poor pre-poll preparations in some areas and concerns over alleged voter list manipulation.
In Papua Province, four people were killed before the polls opened, but elsewhere the elections were largely peaceful, if sometimes chaotic, as polling booths across the country mostly opened at 7 a.m. and closed five hours later on a day declared a public holiday.
There were more than 171 million eligible voters to elect members of the 560-seat House of Representatives, and to fill 1,770 seats in provincial legislatures and 13,525 seats on district councils. Polling stations seemed especially active in the morning, with many voters casting their ballots early to get a head start on the long weekend. Today is Good Friday, which marks the death of Jesus Christ, and is a national holiday.
Early “quick count” results from several groups on Thursday evening showed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, or PD, with about 20 percent of the national vote, triple the party’s 7 percent showing in 2004. The Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, were next in the race, with about 15 percent each.

The Jakarta Globe
Friday, April 10, 2009
Elections Peaceful but Problematic
Voters turned out at more than 500,000 polling stations across Indonesia to vote for new regional and national legislatures today, in elections that appeared to go relatively smoothly despite some administrative glitches.
The proximity of the voting to a long weekend may have led to lower turnout in some areas. Tomorrow is a national holiday honoring Good Friday.
Nearly 50 percent of 270 registered voters failed to show up at the polling station where Vice President Jusuf Kalla cast his vote in the luxurious Menteng residential area of Central Jakarta.
“Oh God, so many! We campaigned all out and this is what happened,” Kalla said. “This is the lifestyle of Menteng people. They go abroad or to Bali for holiday.”
Election officials In Bali estimated that the number of no-shows was 11 percent higher than in 2004. The vote coincided with an annual Hindu ritual there.
The administrative problems included complaints that several areas in the provinces of East Java, North Sumatra, and Jakarta received the wrong ballot papers.
Early “quick count” results by several survey institutes suggested no party would win the 25 percent of the popular vote required to put forward a candidate in July’s presidential election. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic party came closest, with around 20% of the vote.
Parties can also run their own candidates if they claim 20% of the legislative seats. Otherwise, they have to form coalitions to jointly back a presidential hopeful.
Violence in the restive province of Papua claimed four lives before the polls opened. One man was shot dead early Thursday after some 100 people attacked a police post in Abepura town near Papua’s capital Jayapura.

April 10, 2009 No Surprises So Far in KPU Count
Official vote counts from the General Elections Commission, or KPU, so far are in line with Thursday’s quick count results, showing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party still leading the pack with 21 percent of votes.
The KPU count shows Megawati Sukarnoputri’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, in second position with 14.6 percent of votes, followed by Golkar on 13.9 percent.
The National Awakening Party, or PKB, Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS, and National Mandate Party, or PAN, have all secured between 7.5 and 8.5 percent of votes.
The United Development Party, or PPP, and Gerindra have tallied 5 percent and 4.6 percent respectively.
Parties need more than 2.5 percent of the total vote in order to seat representatives in Parliament.
The parliamentary election will also determine which parties have the right to put forward candidates for July’s presidential election. Parties must secure either 20 percent of seats in parliament or 25 percent of the total vote to nominate a candidate for presidency. If individual parties do not secure enough votes or seats, they may form coalitions with other parties to meet the threshold and run a shared presidential candidate.
At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, the KPU count showed the following results.
PD 21.1
PDI-P 14.6
Golkar 13.9
PKS 8.6
PAN 7.6
Gerindra 4.6

Parlamentswahl in Indonesiens
Präsidentenpartei laut Hochrechnung vorn
Aus der Parlamentswahl in Indonesien ist die Demokratische Partei von Präsident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono als stärkste Kraft hervorgegangen. Nach Hochrechnungen von fünf Instituten kam sie auf rund 20 Prozent der Stimmen.
Laut Zwischenergebnissen folgte der Demokratischen Partei die Indonesische Partei des Demokratischen Kampfes mit 15 Prozent. Letztere wird von der früheren Präsidentin Megawati Sukarnoputri angeführt. Sukarnoputri ist die Tochter des 1998 gestürzten indonesischen Diktators Suharto. Die von Suharto gegründete Partei Golkar, die bislang stärkste Partei im Parlament, fiel den Hochrechnungen zufolge von über 20 auf etwa 13 Prozent ab. Mit der Golkar-Partei bildete Yudhoyonos Demokratische Partei bislang eine Koalition.
Yudhoyono Favorit für Präsidentenwahl
Insgesamt stellten sich 38 Parteien sowie tausende Einzelkandidaten zur Wahl. Die Abstimmung gilt als ausschlaggebend für die Präsidentenwahl im kommenden Juli. Nur wer ein Viertel der Stimmen oder ein Fünftel der Sitze bekommt, kann einen eigenen Kandidaten nominieren. Die anderen Parteien müssen Koalitionen bilden und sich auf einen Kandidaten einigen.
Yudhoyono gilt schon jetzt als Favorit für eine Wiederwahl. Er hat die Wirtschaft bislang relativ unbeschadet durch die Krise gesteuert. Analysten und Wähler geben ihm gute Noten für den Kampf gegen islamische Fundamentalistin und korrupte Beamte. Der Präsident wird am 8. Juli direkt gewählt.

04/10/09 15:00
After the election, real show begins in Indonesia
Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono began planning his re-election campaign after his party won the most seats in general elections, according to unofficial results.
His centrist Democratic Party completed its dramatic transformation from political newcomer in 2001 to the strongest party in parliament following largely peaceful elections Thursday, according to independent polling agencies.
Projections by the respected Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) have the Democrats winning 20.48 percent of the vote, based on its own count of ballots from a representative sample of 2,100 polling stations.
The opposition Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) of ex-president Megawati Sukarnoputri gained 14.33 percent and Suharto’s former ruling party, Golkar, was close behind with 13.95 percent.
Several other independent polling agencies came up with similar projections, which were also in line with pre-election opinion surveys.
The first official results started to be published on Friday but they were too small to be meaningful and the final count is not expected until May 9.
“At this stage the data is stable. The Democrats are the winning party with the most number of votes,” LSI director Saiful Mujani was quoted by AFP as telling Metro TV television station late Thursday.
Islamic parties in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country were projected to win a total of around 26 percent of the vote, their worst showing in Indonesia’s history as people focused on worldly affairs such as growth and jobs amid the global economic crisis.
Yudhoyono is a softly-spoken ex-general with a sky-high popularity rating thanks to his mild manner, sound economic management and determination to crack down on rampant corruption.
“We will start tomorrow engaging in political communications (with other parties),” Yudhoyono told reporters at his home late Thursday.
Carefully avoiding any claim to victory, he added: “We will see what kind of coalition we have and how many presidential candidates meet the requirements.”
Golkar general-secretary Sumarsono said: “We’re disappointed but that’s the voters’ decision and we’ll accept the results.
“The Democrats used the president as their figurehead. If people think the president is good they’ll choose his party.”
PDI-P central board committee chairman Arif Budimanta complained that some voters’ names had been left off ballot papers, amid shambolic preparations by electoral authorities which could leave the door open to complaints.
“People said they went to polling stations wanting to vote but they were turned away as their names weren’t there,” he said.
It was the third general election since the fall of dictator Suharto in 1998 ushered in a new era of reform, turning Indonesia into the world’s third-largest democracy after India and the United States.
Yudhoyono’s campaign received a boost late last year when a timely fall in crude oil prices allowed him to reverse unpopular increases in the cost of subsidised fuel. His party may not reach the 20 percent of seats in the 560-seat lower house or 25 percent of the popular vote required to nominate a presidential candidate on its own.
But it could nevertheless improve its strength from the 57 seats it held in the outgoing parliament and is in a strong position for coalition negotiations that will set the scene for the presidential election in July.
Yudhoyono had an uneasy relationship with his vice-president, Golkar chairman Jusuf Kalla, who has hinted he will run against the incumbent in the presidential race.
Other candidates include Megawati, whom Yudhoyono defeated in 2004, the hereditary sultan of the ancient city of Yogyakarta, Hamengkubuwono X, and Prabowo Subianto, a populist ex-general with a record of human rights abuses during the Suharto dictatorship.
Islamic parties could also become significant players if the major secular parties cannot agree to work together.

Election commission to have final results by May 9
The Jakarta Post   |  Fri, 04/10/2009 6:22 PM  |  National
The General Election Commission (KPU) said Friday that it expect to conclude the recapitulation of votes through manual counting by May 9.
KPU chairman Abdul Hafiz Anshary said the commission would receive all reports directly from regional poling stations in all districts by April 14, and collective recapitulation from all regents by April 19 at the latest.
“We expect to gather recapitulation results from provinces between April 20 and 25,” he said.
As of 3 p.m. on Friday, Abdul said, the temporary official counting of legislative election results showed that Democratic Party led by gaining 28.649 votes or 20.94 percent, followed by Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) with 14.88 percent, Golongan Karya Party (Golkar) with 19.199 votes or 14.03 percent, Prosperous and Justice Party (PKS) with 8.73 percent and National Awakening Party (PKB) with 7.8 percent.

LSI final count says Democratic Party wins election
The Jakarta Post   |  Fri, 04/10/2009 9:13 PM  |  Election 2009
The Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) on Friday announced its final result of quick count on samples from Thursday’s legislative election, saying that the Democratic Party on the lead with 20.48 percent of the votes.
LSI said in a press statement that based on 97.42 percent of data it had collected up to Friday night, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) occupied the second place grabbing 14.33 percent of the votes while the Golkar Party with 13.95 percent of the votes was in the third place.
The final result of the quick count also showed the Golkar Party was followed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) with 7.85 percent, the National Mandate Party (PAN) 5.72 percent, the United Development Party (PPP) 5.24 percent, the National Awakening Party (PKB) 5.12 percent, the Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party 4.59 percent, the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) 3.78 percent, and the Crescent and Star Party (PBB) 1.70 percent.
Executive Director of LSI Saiful Mujani said that based on the results of the surveys quick count, only nine political parties passed the parliamentary threshold, namely the Democrats Party, PDIP, Golkar, PKS, PAN, PPP, PKB, Gerindra and Hanura.
He said that the 97.42 percent data were collected from 2,096 polling stations. He said that LSI was still waiting for the remaining samples from Papua. The vote counting in a number of Papua polling stations was halted due to an attack by the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM).
“Yet, the random quality of samples already received has reached 99.57 percent. This means that changes in vote gains is already stable and worth announcing,” he said.
He said that in its quick count in the 2009 legislative elections LSI took samples from 2,096 polling stations throughout Indonesia. They are collected with a combined method of stratified cluster random sampling.
According to Saiful Mujani, his institute’s quick count has a margin error of about 0,9 percent.

April 10, 2009 Muninggar Sri Saraswati
Unregistered, Fed-Up Voters and Vacationers Give Elections the Worst Turnout Since 1999
This year’s legislative elections saw the biggest number of non-voters in a decade, with some pollsters predicting up to 40 percent failed to show up for the country’s third general elections since the fall of former President Suharto.
Quick counts conducted by the Institute for Economic and Social Research, Education and Information, or LP3ES, indicated that the number of eligible voters who did not exercise their rights in Thursday’s legislative elections may reach 34 percent.
“This is the highest figure [of non-voters] since the 1999 elections,” Sudar D. Atmanto, who is the deputy director of LP3ES, said on Friday. In the 1999 elections, the first after Suharto’s iron-fisted regime fell apart, 20 percent of the total eligible voters stayed away from the polls, while in 2004 about 26 percent abstained. The General Elections Commission, or KPU, listed more than 171 million eligible voters for this year’s legislative elections.
The 34 percent estimate does not including unregistered voters. LP3ES estimated that if the number of non-voters was combined with the number of unregistered voters, the total would be around 40 percent.
The KPU has received widespread criticism for its failure to include many people with voting rights on its final voters list, leaving thousands of people out of this year’s legislative elections.
Another pollster, the Strategic Center for Development and Policy Review, or Puskaptis, also estimated around 40 percent of eligible voters did not participate in Thursday’s elections. The Indonesian Survey Institute, or LSI, put the figure at about 35 percent.
Sudar said the KPU should be held responsible for the high number of non-voters this year, citing a failure to disseminate adequate information about the elections and problems involving the final list of voters.
“Certainly, the government and KPU must review the final list of voters for the presidential election,” he said.
Burhanuddin Muhtadi, a researcher from LSI, added that Indonesian voters have been suffering from “elections fatigue” due to races on the local level that have been conducted continuously since 2005. “Too many local elections have played a part in the decreasing participation in Thursday’s elections,” he said.
Burhanuddin said voters were also skeptical about the performance of the legislators who would sit in the House of Representatives this year. “The available choices are equally terrible,” he said.
Burhanuddin also said that some people chose not to vote because they wanted to take advantage of the extended holiday weekend from Thursday to Sunday.
Meanwhile, KPU chairman Abdul Hafiz Anshyary said the commission had done its best to organize the elections, but he expressed regret that people with the right to vote had been left off the final voters list.
“We apologize if they could not vote, though we had made announcements about the final voters list several times,” he said.

April 10, 2009 Febriamy Hutapea, Muninggar Sri Saraswati & Sally Piri
Democrats Begin Selecting Coalition
All but declaring victory a day after national legislative elections, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday said he was willing to form a coalition to contest the presidential poll in July, including with the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS.
Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party scored a decisive win on Thursday with more than 20 percent of the national vote, according to unofficial quick-count results. A well-placed party source told the Jakarta Globe that their calculations showed the Democrats would secure more than 20 percent of the seats in the 560-member House of Representatives, meaning they would not need a coalition to nominate Yudhoyono for re-election.
However, Yudhoyono told a press conference at his private residence in Cikeas, near Bogor, that he wanted coalition partners, as long as they were firmly behind his leadership, professional and committed to the next government’s programs.
“Having learned from experiences in coalitions, especially in the legislature and cabinet, a coalition must be truly rule-based. The political contract must be clear and the code of ethics must also be agreed upon,” a relaxed-looking Yudhoyono said.

Joyo Exclusive: Election Analysis by Jeffrey Winters
Here are some back-of-the-envelope calculations and scenarios based on early “quick count” results from the 9 April 2009 Parliamentary DPR elections (available as of midnight Jakarta time on 9 April). Final vote counts could vary from these numbers, but most of the analysis presented would hold:
Avg Est
2009 2009 2004 2004
PARTY % Seats   % Seats
Demokrat 20.4 138 7.5 55
Golkar 14.5 98 21.6 128
PDIP 14.2 96 18.5 109
PKS 7.6 51 7.3 45
PAN 5.6 38 6.4 53
PPP 5.3 36 8.2 58
PKB 5.2 35 10.6 52
Gerindra 4.9 33 0 0
Hanura 3.5 24 0 0
81.2% 550 seats

First some basic information and assumptions. Column one is an average of the 4 “quick counts.” Only the 9 parties listed above appear likely to reach the 2.5% popular vote threshold needed to get even a single seat in the 550-seat DPR. These 9 parties constitute 81.2% of the total vote (which would have yielded only 447 seats without the exclusionary rule). These 9 parties will divide among themselves the remaining 103 seats in the DPR the smaller parties would have gotten. The numbers of seats in column two are very rough estimates, as actual seats rarely equal percentages of votes.
As expected, no party got the25% of the popular vote needed to run a presidential candidate, although, also as expected, SBY’s PD is the only party to get the 20% of the DPR seats (110) needed to run a candidate solo.
Alliances for the Presidency
SBY is likely to ally with PKS and PKB (neither is likely to ally with PDIP-Mega or Gerindra-Prabowo). This would give SBY a comfortable 224-seat base. Barring something dramatic happening with Golkar (see below), SBY might even offer PKS the vice-presidency.
The current strategy is for PDIP-Mega to ally with Golkar-Kalla. This would give Mega an easy 194 seats as a base for her run with Kalla once again as VP (and promises of a dominant role in domestic affairs). But if there is major Golkar drama (see below), Mega would have to find another ally.
The big question is whether there will be a third candidate. Gerindra-Prabowo must assemble 110 seats to run. If the alliances mentioned above hold, then there are only 132 seats left for grabs. Gerindra will get around 33. This is quite a splash for a one-year old party, but Prabowo needed to do a lot better. To get to 110 seats Prabowo must somehow get PAN (38) and PPP (36) and Hanura (24) to back him. PAN and PPP lean toward SBY but could be lured away (especially if money and several cabinet posts are offered). But the huge challenge is getting Hanura- Wiranto to sign on. There is a history of deep conflict between these two generals. Unless the final vote counts and seats work in Prabowo’s favor, he will only have 107 of the 110 needed to run (meaning getting Wiranto becomes a must).
Golkar Drama
As expected, Golkar’s performance was poor, dropping from 21.6 percent of the vote in 2004 to a pathetic 14.5 percent this round. Golkar is chock full of figures plotting to re-take the party if the elections were to go badly under Kalla’s leadership. The top plotter is Akbar Tanjung, who wants to hold an Extraordinary National Convention (Munaslub) in May to push Kalla aside for failing the party. Nothing major happens in Golkar without tons of money, and Akbar doesn’t have much. But replacing Kalla would be a major boon to SBY, as it would pave the way for re- allying with Golkar-Akbar (with Akbar as the VP). This would devastate SBY’s opponents and cause a cascade effect in the alliance structure. Mega’s alliance with Golkar-Kalla would be history. Her search for a replacement ally to reach the 110-seat threshold could threaten to eliminate Prabowo from the presidential race. SBY could easily raise the funds needed to back Abkar’s putsch within Golkar. Doing so would all but assure SBY’s second term.
Rizal Ramli and One Last Scenario
There is one other interesting possibility that could arise, though the chances are remote. Rizal Ramli is the only non-New Order figure of prominence in the race. Problem is, he has no party. Instead, he heads the “Change Blok,” which is made up of many of the parties (nearly 18% of the total vote collectively) that are cut out of the action because they did not reach the 2.5% threshold.
Rizal cannot get 20% of the seats with this hodge- podge of parties because they get no seats. But a candidate can still run for the presidency with 25% of the popular vote. This is a tall order. Rizal would have to get all the excluded parties plus one or two of the parties that did reach the threshold.
Alternatively, Prabowo and his allies could ally with Rizal and his Change Blok and reach the 25% popular vote threshold. The same holds true for Wiranto and his Hanura party. These popular-vote scenarios assume the more than two dozen fractional parties could be held together and not be picked off using money by the big players. Prabowo has the money to fend off such money challenges from Mega and SBY, but Rizal does not.
Jeffrey Winters
Northwestern University, Chicago
April 9, 2009

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday, April 10, 2009
Basking In A Bilateral Bubble As The Reality Of Indonesia Gets Airbrushed
By Hamish McDonald
During the 34 or so years of Soeharto’s reign in Indonesia, outside analysts watched with diminishing expectations for signs of his grip weakening and rival power centres emerging. The consensus was that succession would happen inside the regime and we would end up with someone pretty much like him – a Javanese, moderately Muslim, army general – and not much would change.
In the end Soeharto was forced out by his own excesses of cronyism and nepotism in the currency collapse caused by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. His successor did come from within the regime, but it was not the suave Javanese, Muslim military chief, General Wiranto, but the vice-president, B.J. Habibie.
He was Muslim, but a civilian aeronautical engineer from Makassar, who took bold steps to break up the centralised, manipulated pseudo-democracy of Soeharto’s New Order. He was followed by a half-blind Muslim cleric from East Java, Gus Dur, and a part-Balinese housewife, Megawati Sukarnoputri.
In 2004, by free elections rather than a coup, the country finally got a Javanese, Muslim, army general as president: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Ironically, a lot of Indonesians and foreign governments see him as Indonesia’s best hope of deepening its secular democracy, and steering it away from creeping Islamism or resurgent militarism. If his Democratic Party comes out strongest from yesterday’s parliamentary elections, Yudhoyono is well positioned for the presidential poll in July.
Canberra will be hoping for this outcome. Its officials have been basking in one of the sunniest periods in the history of bilateral relations, notwithstanding Australia’s continuing adverse travel advisories, the arrival of Papuan asylum seekers, the tabloid circus around the Schapelle Corby case, and the Bali Nine death sentences.
Yet the Rudd Government’s recent effort at generating more ideas and interest in this critical foreign relationship has turned out a flat performance. The two-day conference in February, under Chatham House rules (no identification of speakers in reports) has resulted in a lacklustre “outcomes report” that shows what a bubble our policy-makers live in.
This largely flowed from the decision to make it a bilateral exercise from the start, instead of an Australian brainstorm first. Foreign ministries were put in charge, resulting in a diplomatic choice of subjects and tone, and delegates selected to keep everything polite (including, somewhat embarrassingly for his dissident credentials, your columnist).
The outcomes report, filtered by the foreign ministries and written up by the Lowy Institute’s Malcolm Cook, laments that on the Australian side, the media, business and students have not “kept pace with the new era of government-to-government relations”. The media looks in the “rearview mirror” at old grievances, business is reluctant to trade and invest, and students are turning away from Indonesian language. The remedy is largely to spread the word about “positive” changes in Indonesia.
“Apart from a few minor tweaks to suit the times, it is same old same old,” says Deakin University’s Damien Kingsbury, among the many younger Indonesia specialists not included in the conference. “Nothing new but, looking at those who contributed to the gab-fest, that is as expected, which is no doubt why they were so selectively invited.”
The Australian Defence Force Academy’s Clinton Fernandes was also excluded. “It’s not a rearview mirror but a blindfold,” he says. “The report makes no mention of General Prabowo Subianto, who is banned from the US because of his criminal actions and is running for president in 2009. Nor of General Wiranto, who bears command responsibility for crimes against humanity and is also running for president. Their Indonesian critics were not invited. Attendees were handpicked so that anyone who disagreed with the holy orthodoxy was excluded.”
Sydney University’s Adrian Vickers, another non-invitee, sees a lack of concrete investment proposals in areas such as the arts and education. “There is a big hole here,” Vickers says. “I’m just back from the UK where gamelan is part of the national school music curriculum, and the London Symphony Orchestra supports a gamelan!
“And the travel advisory is a cop-out, since it begs the question of why Indonesia has such a high level when other countries that have similar terrorism issues [India, Britain, Israel] do not,” he says. “A simple mechanism for getting more traffic between countries would be to make it easier to get study and research visas to Indonesia. As one colleague put it, the system at the moment is geared towards ensuring income for a number of Indonesians, but is not helpful for things like student exchanges.”
Deakin’s Scott Burchill says: “An anodyne summary which expresses frustration with the media and the general population who don’t understand the importance of the relationship in the same way the elites who attended the meeting do.
“If only the population could rise to their lofty ethical and intellectual standards, all the problems would disappear. Meanwhile, no mention of crimes in East Timor and West Papua please – that would have been bad manners. The meeting of minds proved one thing – how unnecessary the meeting actually was.”
Is government the roadblock? If all the interesting things are airbrushed – unrest in Papua, fragile autonomy in Aceh, military resistance to Yudhoyono reforms, unresolved human rights cases, the predatory maritime boundary pushed by Canberra on Indonesia and East Timor in the 1970s, uncertain laws and corruption, aviation safety – no wonder students are turning away from Indonesian studies, and the “relationship” gets periodically disrupted when reality pops the elite bubble.

PDI-P forms coalition with Gerindra, Hanura
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 04/11/2009 2:30 PM | National
Knowing friends: Chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle Megawati Soekarnoputri shakes hand with chief patron of the Great Indonesian Movement Prabowo Subianto at Megawati’s residence in Jakarta on Saturday. Antara/Widodo S Jusuf
Chief patron of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said Saturday that the party is set to hold coalition with two newcomers, the Indonesian Great Movement Party (Gerindra) and the  People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party.
“Coalition? Hanura (is) certain, Gerindra (is) certain,” he said answering journalists questions at his residence, as quoted by
When asked about the party’s coalition plan with Golkar Party, he answered vaguely “Let’s see later. Next Wednesday the coalition is set.”
Taufik said PDI-P would nominate its chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri as presidential candidate but it has yet to nominate the vice presidential nomination name.
He said a PDI-P coordination meetung would decide the name and Gerindra’s chief patron Prabowo Subianto was one of the candidates.
Accoding to most quick count survey, PDI-P came second with around 14 percent votes during the Legislative Elecgion Thursday. Gerindra and Hanura came eight and ninth with around 4 and 3 percent of votes, respectively.
Prabowo, former chief of the Army’s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), has intensified personal and political lobbies and spent a large amount on a media campaign to promote his party and presidential candidacy.
Failing to win the support of the Golkar Party for his presidential bid in 2004, Prabowo, who owns PT Kiani Pulp and Paper in East Kalimantan, founded Gerindra as his political vehicle to contest the presidential election in July.

The Jakarta Post April 11, 2009
Insight: Elections: The moment of truth is finally here
by Bahtiar Effendy
Last Thursday, millions of Indonesians flocked to the polling booths. They were among the luckiest to have their names in the voter lists (DPT). As such, they were able to exercise their constitutional right – to vote for whichever candidate they deemed most competent to serve in the national as well as regional parliaments.
Others were not that lucky. Many eligible voters could not vote. Their right to vote was stripped away, perhaps unintentionally, simply because their names were not on the voter lists. But they were not the only group that did not participate in the elections.
Many Indonesians chose to go on holiday with family or friends, knowing that Election Day, which was actually already being revised, fell right before Easter. The fact that the Christian holiday came before the weekend only made it perfect timing for many to hit the beaches and resorts.
Many also did not vote because of a lack of interest in the polls and a growing sense of apathy and doubt that the elections will bring about significant change. Even though a definite figure for voter turnout is still not available, many have predicted that as much as 40 percent of eligible voters did not vote.
This does not make the elections any less legitimate, however. Whoever ends up in parliament as the result of these legislative elections, we will accept as the authoritative public office holders responsible mainly to oversee the government and make law. Although this is not to ignore the fact that many parties and candidates, especially those who in the end will be declared losers, will expand their electoral ventures to the Constitutional Court to settle their cases.
One thing is for sure, however: the elections marked the moment of truth. For so many days, weeks and months, we have been consumed with so many reports and analyses about which party would emerge victorious, which parties would gain respectable support from society. A series of polls undertaken by a number of survey institutions during the last quarter of 2008, and especially during the first quarter of this year, raised the eyebrows of the country’s many spin doctors and observers. To some extent, the poll results sent waves of shock, astonishment, denial and perhaps even suspicion. The latter arose because of one of Indonesia’s many common social ills: for the right price, everything is for sale.
Now the elections have concluded, the voters have actually decided the moment of truth. Which parties get what and how much is something that time will eventually tell. It will take days and weeks to finally know the definite results. But social science has given us the luxury of seeing what the possible outcomes could be.
A few hours after the poll booths closed, quick counts gave us a general picture: the Democratic Party is likely to get 20 percent, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) around 16 percent, the Golkar Party around 14 percent; while Islamic-based parties such as the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the United Development Party (PPP) are likely to be in the range of 5 to 8 percent.
The two new parties of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) are likely to gain between 3 and 4 percent. The rest are predicted not to pass the parliamentary threshold of 2.5 percent.
As shocking as they may be, those numbers have actually been with us for quite some time. Before the elections, we were haunted by a specter that painted a rosy picture for the Democratic Party – the party of the incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This party, as some poll results had suggested, would emerge victorious with a possible gain of 26 percent. In the meantime, Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s Golkar Party would likely suffer a substantial setback, gaining only 14 percent of votes.
Former president Megawati’s PDI-P was likely to increase its electoral gains slightly to around 17 percent. Other parties, including the PKS, the PAN, the PKB, the PPP, would likely be in the range of 5-8 percent; while Wiranto’s Hanura and Prabowo’s Gerindra would likely be in the margins of 4-5 percent. The rest would not likely meet the designated parliamentary threshold of 2.5 percent.
Indonesians have decided. That decision suggests there is continuity and change in our day-to-day politics. As in the past, there is a continuing pattern that leadership does matter.
The PNI and Masyumi were triumphant in the 1950s because of the unified leadership provided by Sukarno and Mohammad Natsir respectively. This is now being demonstrated by the Democratic Party and the PDI-P, which are heavily dependent on Yudhoyono and Megawati.
But unlike in the past, these elections also solidify the insignificant position of ideology, ethnic and religious divides. Undoubtedly, voters are becoming more fluid. Unfortunately, they still cling heavily to leaders and not so much to programs. This will serve as the biggest challenge for party building institutionally. Being relatively institutionalized, parties such as the PDI-P, Golkar and the PPP have no guarantee that they will last forever, unless they are capable of providing a strong and capable leader who seems to be the only magnet to attract voters.

Hundreds of irregularities in Indonesia vote: official
JAKARTA, April 11 (AFP) — Indonesia’s general elections have been marred by hundreds of complaints about irregularities, officials said Saturday, raising questions about the legitimacy of the vote in some areas.
The Election Supervisory Body said it had received almost 400 official reports of irregularities surrounding Thursday’s legislative vote, only the third in the country since the fall of strongman Suharto in 1998.
“We have received 378 election violation reports from officials in 28 provinces,” Supervisory Body vote-counting chief Wahidah Suaib said.
“The reported cases are mostly about polling stations receiving ballots designated for other stations.”
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party won the most votes, according to independent polling agencies, but the final official results are not expected until May 9.
The Electoral Commission was widely criticised for its poor organisation of the poll, with reports of incomplete voter lists and delays in distributing ballot papers across the vast archipelago’s 6,000 inhabited islands.
Suaib said most of the problems had appeared in Southeast Sulawesi, Central Java and West Kalimantan provinces.
“Depending on the case, there might have to be a repeat of the vote in some polling stations.”
Gerindra, a populist party led by the former head of the notorious Kopassus special forces, Prabowo Subianto, said it would consider calling for a re-vote in some areas.
“There were many double names for voters. There were many eligible voters whose names weren’t on the registration lists,” party chairman Suhardi said.
“If we find enough proof of violations or mistakes in the procedures in one or more polling stations, then we’ll ask for that area to recast their votes.”
The People’s Conscience Party of former army chief Wiranto also said the election might have to be repeated in the worst-affected polling stations.
“There were many logistical problems. Some of the ballot papers had already been ticked before people actually voted,” party official Slamet Rujito said.
The election sets the stage for more important presidential elections in July, in which Yudhoyono is seeking a second five-year term.

The Jakarta Post
April 11, 2009
Voter Turnout Drops Even Further
by Andra Wisnu
Although there is no official figure yet for voter turnout, experts agree this year’s elections were more poorly attended than the 2004 polls.
The Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) and the Institute of Research, Education and Information of Social and Economic Affairs (LP3ES) gave lower voter turnout numbers this year, with both recording the abstention rates of 28 percent, up from 25 percent in 2004.
Senior LSI researcher Burhanuddin Muhtadi said his polling indicated that educated voters were less likely to vote, signaling growing pessimism among educated people about the elections.
“That was based on our finding that voter turnout in Java stood at 70 percent, while outside Java it was 75 percent,” he said.
LP3ES researcher Fajar Nursahid had a different take, saying fewer people had voted because of technical issues.
“That conclusion was based on a poll we took after the gubernatorial election in Jakarta, which showed people were very much willing to vote, and they didn’t only because of personal reasons,” he said.
“So I don’t think the slump in voter turnout was caused by political reasons.”
Hadar Gumay, executive director of the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro), which conducted its own polling during the elections, said his institution had logged voter turnout rates of between 60 and 70 percent.
“That means the abstention rate was between 30 and 40 percent,” he said Friday during the General Election Commission’s (KPU) national tabulation of votes at Hotel Borobudur in Central Jakarta.
“What we should be concerned about now is whether that rate was an honest reflection of voters’ will, or whether it was forced by how the elections were run.”
Troubled election preparations saw many citizens left off the voter lists. Others took advantage of the fact that balloting was held at the beginning of a long holiday to skip town with their families.
KPU chief Abdul Hafiz Anshary declined to comment on the low turnout.
“There will be no official word on the abstention rate until May 9, when ballot counting is complete,” he said.

The Jakarta Post
April 11, 2009
Parties join forces to sue polls body, government
With most pollsters publishing near identical exit poll results, on Friday the likely defeated political parties began to prepare lawsuits against the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the government.
The parties’ leaders identified chaotic eligible voter lists (DPT) as the prime cause for their defeat, and accused the KPU and the government of deliberately designing confusing DPTs in order to give SBY’s party an advantage at their expense.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which according to most surveys stood in second place after the Democratic Party, leads the pack of unhappy parties, and moved to hold meetings to consolidate evidence of election fraud.
“We have met with several parties like the Golkar Party, the Great Indonesian Movement Party [Gerindra] and the People’s Conscience Party [Hanura] to discuss what steps to take,” chairman of PDI-P faction at the House of Representatives, Tjahjo Kumolo, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
He claimed PDI-P had lost thousands of votes due to DPT fraud, mostly in their stronghold regions.
According to an exit poll conducted by the Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI), the PDI-P gained 14.41 percent of total votes in Thursday’s legislative elections, down from 18.53 per cent votes in the 2004 polls.
“Our cadres have reported to us that they did not have their names on the voter list, although they voted in last year’s provincial elections,” Tjahjo said.
The PDI-P’s presidential candidate, Megawati Soekarnoputri, met Hanura’s presidential candidate Wiranto on Thursday to discuss filing a lawsuit against the government, Hanura secretary-general Yus Usman Sumanegara said.
“We believe DPT fraud caused us significant vote loss.”
According the LSI exit poll, Hanura won 3.72 percent of total votes.
Besides teaming with the PDI-P, Hanura has formed a coalition with eight other parties: the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS), the National People’s Concern Party (PPRN), the Democratic Reform Party (PDP), the Labor Party, the National Sun Party (PMB), the Reform Star Party (PBR), the Ulema National Awakening Party (PKNU) and the Prosperous Indonesia Party (PIS).
“The nine of us are committed to seeking legal action if election frauds are found. We are currently collecting evidence as the basis for filing the lawsuit,” Yus Usman said.
Similarly, Gerindra’s advocacy team leader Mahendradatta said he was planning to sue the government.
Meanwhile, the Golkar Party has tried to maintain equilibrium.
“If we sue the government or even cancel the elections, it would be worse for the country,”
Golkar deputy secretary-general Rully Chairul Azwar said, adding his party would “wait and see” for now.
When asked if Golkar was willing to join the other parties, he said the party officials had not decided yet.
Bambang Suroso from the Pioneers’ Party threatened most parties would be angry and boycott the presidential election in July.
“We will take legal action, but if we lose the case, we will boycott the presidential election,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sys NS from Regional Unity Party (PPD) said the elections were like a circus.
“Everything is clearly strange and against the law, but the police and the authorities seem to ignore it.”

With 1.5 votes in, SBY’s Democratic Party in the lead
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sun, 04/12/2009 9:07 AM  |  Election 2009
As of Sunday morning, the Center for Votes Tabulation recorded a total of 1.49 million votes, with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party coming in the lead.
What follows is the list of 10 political parties getting the largest votes:
1. Partai Demokrat: 304,258 votes (20.35%)
2. Partai Golkar: 216,602 (14.49%)
3. PDIP: 216,010 (14.45%)
4. PKS: 126,435 (8.45%)
5. PAN: 97,762 (6.54%)
6. PKB: 80,838 (5.41%)
7. PPP: 80,362 (5.38%)
8. Gerindra: 68,062 (4.55%)
9. Hanura: 52,497 (3.51%)
10. PBB: 24,420 (1.63%)

04/12/09 11:22
Indonesia`s gentle general eyes second term
Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose party likely won legislative elections this week, is a dictator’s loyal soldier turned leader of a thriving democracy.
A former senior general during ex-dictator Suharto’s rule, the taciturn 59-year-old has become a standard bearer for democratic reform in the wake of the strongman’s 1998 fall.
Yudhoyono won the country’s first direct presidential election in 2004 in a landslide victory over then-president Megawati Sukarnoputri, who he worked under as security minister before a falling-out. 
A Muslim from the country’s dominant Javanese ethnic group, Yudhoyono has won plaudits for overseeing relative peace and stability during his five-year term heading the unwieldy Muslim-majority nation, home to 234 million people.
Known as SBY, he rarely gives media interviews and has an aloof, non-confrontational style that often comes across as plain boring.
The only apparent bright spot in his persona is a well-publicised love for soppy romanticism, a weakness he seems only too keen to share with his like-minded countrymen.        
He has released a number of albums of his own love songs, the latest being a collection of ballads titled “My Longing for You”.
He also famously cried during a public screening of local romantic movie “Ayat-Ayat Cinta” (Verses of Love) last year.
On entering office, he inherited one of the world’s most corrupt countries, weighed down by widespread poverty, separatist insurgencies in Aceh and Papua, and sporadic suicide attacks by the Islamist Jemaah Islamiyah movement.
Within months of taking office, his problems were compounded by the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed over 168,000 people in Aceh and Nias.
Yudhoyono finishes his term with progress on most of these problems. Reconstruction in Aceh has been hailed as a success and peace has held in the province after a 2005 foreign-brokered peace deal with separatist rebels.
Jemaah Islamiyah is widely seen as being on the backfoot after a string of arrests.
Dents have also been made in the country’s systemic corruption, although graft remains deeply rooted.
Yudhoyono has been criticised for indecisiveness and failing to stand up to to the religious right.
Last year he stood back while authorities cracked down on a minority Islamic sect deemed heretical by Islamic hardliners, and recently his party supported a controversial anti-pornography bill opposed by minorities and liberals.
He has governed with the help of a rainbow coalition including Golkar, the former party of Suharto, and a slew of Islamic and minor secular parties.
However, with unofficial counts showing his party expanding its vote from7.45 to over 20 percent, Yudhoyono looks set to have a freer hand to stamp his own inimitable style on the incoming government, AFP reported.(*)

Mega looks to team up with Wiranto, Prabowo
The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Sun, 04/12/2009 10:57 AM | Election 2009
The chief patron of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said Saturday the party was set to hold a coalition with two newcomers led by retired high ranking officers, the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party.
“Coalition? Hanura [is] certain, Gerindra [is] certain,” Taufik Kiemas, chairman of PDI-P’s advisory board, said in reponse to journalists’ questions at his residence, as quoted by
When asked about the party’s coalition plan with the Golkar Party, he answered, “Let’s see later. The coalition is to be determined next Wednesday.”
Taufik said PDI-P would nominate its chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri, his wife and former president, as its presidential candidate but had not yet decided on a vice-presidential candidate.
However Megawati, who met Gerindra’s leader Prabowo Subianto on Saturday, only said that a “duet” with the latter is “possible.”
Taufik said a PDI-P coordination meeting would determine the vice-presidential candidate, adding that Prabowo, a former leader of the army’s special forces, was one of the candidates. Megawati’s meeting with Prabowo followed an earlier one with Hanura leader Wiranto, a former military chief.
According to unofficial quick count surveys, PDI-P is coming second after the Democratic Party, with around 14 percent of votes from Thursday’s legislative election. Gerindra and Hanura are so far ranked eight and ninth with around 5 and 3 percent of votes, respectively.
Both the PDI-P and the Gerindra Party say they make take their mutual concerns over alleged election fraud to the Constitutional Court and officially challenge the poll results.
PDI-P Secretary General Pramono Anung Wibowo said the two parties believed the voter list was rigged to benefit “a certain party.”
So far the Democratic Party, formed by President Susilo Bam-bang Yudhoyono is leading in quick count tallies at around 20 percent of votes. They may be the only party to meet the required minimum of 20 percent of minimum seats won at the House of Representatives, or 25 percent of national votes, to be able to nominate a president for the July election.
Many voters have claimed to have not been included on the voters’ list.
“The fraud … has inflicted losses on other parties. We plan to raise this issue to the Constitutional Court if it remains unresolved,” Pramono said.
“This year’s election was even worse than the 2004 polls. We have received many complaints,” Megawati said. The party leaders said the alleged fraud should be thoroughly investigated.
Both Megawati and Prabowo extended their apology to voters who could not cast their ballots because they were not registered.

PBB ready to join coalition with Democratic Party
The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sun, 04/12/2009 6:03 PM  |  National
Crescent Star Party (PBB) chairman M.S. Kaban, who is also forestry minister, said Sunday his party was ready to join a coalition with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, both in parliament and in the new administration.
“The quick counts show the Democratic Party emerged as the winner,” Kaban told Antara news wire. “The PBB as a political party is ready to continue our coalition with the Democratic Party.”
Kaban said his party was ready to sign a written political contract with the Democratic Party to join the coalition. Earlier, Yudhoyono floated the idea of a written contract with any political party wishing to join a coalition with his party.
According to all quick counts, the PBB failed to collect the required 2.5 percent of votes needed to be able to place its candidates at the House of Representatives.
Nevertheless, the PBB’s votes can be included in the calculation for the presidential election on July 8 this year.
Earlier, Democratic Party executive Anas Urbaningrum said his party was looking for a strong coalition at the House to control, if possible, up to 70 percent of House seats

The Straits Times (Singapore)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Calls to oust Kalla after poor showing
Salim Osman, Indonesia Correspondent
Dismal performance in polls prompts demand for Golkar chairman to be removed
Jakarta – Golkar’s poor showing in last week’s general election has triggered demands for party chairman Jusuf Kalla to be ousted.
Some party insiders even question whether Golkar should field Mr Kalla as its torchbearer in the July presidential election. The Vice-President has publicly said that he was ready to challenge President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono instead of running as the President’s deputy. But he could be dropped from the race altogether after an early count indicated that Golkar has slipped two places from its No. 1 position in 2004.
‘There is a lot of unhappiness with Mr Kalla, that some cadres want him removed next week, not at the next party election in October,’ senior Golkar cadre Marzuki Darusman told The Sunday Times.
Even Golkar leaders from Mr Kalla’s home province, South Sulawesi, are reviewing their support for the party chairman as the presidential candidate.
Other names have been tossed up, including Yogyakarta governor and Javanese ruler, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X.
Golkar is scheduled to hold a meeting on April 20 to decide on its presidential candidate.
The party garnered 21.6 per cent of the popular vote in 2004 but several quick counts have indicated that the party created by former president Suharto in 1971 could secure only 14.42 per cent of the vote this time.
‘The quick counts by various pollsters and the early counts of the election commission have shown more than a five percentage point drop in the party’s performance. This is a disaster,’ said Mr Marzuki.
Golkar, Indonesia’s biggest party with 128 seats in the 550-seat outgoing National Parliament, has been trounced by Dr Yudhoyono’s six-year-old Democratic Party, an early count has shown.
Mr Kalla congratulated the President on his party’s good performance on Friday.
Ongoing counting by the election commission has shown that the Democratic Party has garnered 21.25 per cent of the vote – a big improvement from its 7 per cent showing in 2004.
Mr Ilham Arief Siraadjuddin, head of the south Sulawesi chapter, said Golkar’s dismal performance would make it difficult to field Mr Kalla in the presidential contest.
‘Given the present position, we are being realistic,’ he added.
Former president Megawati Sukarnoputri’s Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle (PDI-P) is likely to retain its No. 2 position by securing about 14.99 per cent of the vote. It won 18.5 per cent of the vote in 2004.
Party insiders accused Mr Kalla, who became party chairman during the Golkar party election in December 2004, of misleading the party when he promised in February that the party could garner 30 per cent of the popular vote on April 9.
‘His overconfidence had led to the complacency in the party and we are paying the cost now,’ added Mr Marzuki, a former attorney-general.
Former deputy chairman of Golkar’s advisory board Ginandjar Kartasasmita, also blamed Mr Kalla and the people in his circle for the debacle.
‘This is not a personal problem,’ he said. ‘This is about responsibility, dignity and accountability in an organisation.’
Full official results will be out by May 9.

Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
April 12, 2009
Indonesia changes landscape with vote for hope
Greg Sheridan
Elections in Indonesia, mass demonstrations in Thailand. As Kevin Rudd found yesterday with the postponement of today’s scheduled East Asian Summit in Thailand, the political culture of southeast Asia is in turmoil.
The most stable democracy in southeast Asia today is Indonesia, while one of the most troubled and unstable exists in Thailand.
Indonesia has just held its parliamentary elections – an incredible feat given there are some 171 million voters and one million candidates representing 38 parties across local, regional and national parliaments.
The early indications of the Indonesian results are encouraging. The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono appears to have won 20 per cent of the vote. This nearly trebles its vote from five years ago and makes it the leading vote-winner in Indonesia.
This is a huge personal achievement for SBY himself. He founded the party out of nothing and it represents no natural ethnic or regional constituency. Rather, it is a party dedicated to democracy, clean government, better delivery of services and modernising Indonesia.
The long-standing Democratic Party of Struggle, PDI-P, led by SBY’s long-term rival for the presidency, Megawati Sukarnoputri, came second with about 15 per cent of the vote.
This roughly tied the vote of Golkar, which was the ruling party of the Suharto era. Given the long histories of both PDI-P and Golkar, and their huge funding, for SBY’s party to eclipse them is a mighty accomplishment.
It is significant for another reason: to run for the presidency, a candidate must have the endorsement of 20 per cent of the parliament. It looks like SBY will be able to achieve that without having to take on any coalition partner, meaning he can choose the best possible person as his vice-presidential running mate.
Two former Suharto-era generals, Wiranto and Prabowo, each ran parties, but picked up only a few per cent each.
The Islamic parties, which are mostly moderate, have suffered a severe decline in their vote. The Democratic Party, Golkar and PDI-P are all avowedly secular parties and they led the vote.
The most extreme of the mainstream Islamic parties, the Prosperous Justice Party, seems to have made very little progress.
These results indicate the real power in Indonesia has moved to the legislature and augur well for June’s presidential elections as they suggest SBY will win.
This is overwhelmingly in Australia’s interests as SBY is the most moderate, effective and pro-Australian president Indonesia has ever had.
It’s still unclear how much impact the global recession will have in Indonesia, but it is one of the few Asian economies still recording positive growth.
While SBY is sometimes criticised as being indecisive, he has consolidated democracy, reduced corruption, enhanced law and order and made real progress on economic reform and economic growth — giant achievements.
Thailand, tragically, is not going so well. It has been devastated by the global recession and its politics have become dangerously polarised. Supporters of the current government, led by Abhisit Vejjajiva are opposed by supporters of the ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
Supporters of both sides are willing to demonstrate en masse in the streets of Bangkok against the other. They represent to some extent the opposition of rural and urban Thailand. This tragic polarisation is damaging Thailand’s economy but also beginning to throw some doubt over Thailand’s basic stability.
This is doubly tragic because Thailand for so long was the model of stability, calmness and tolerance in southeast Asia.
Every friend of Thailand hopes it returns to that situation as soon as possible.