[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Aceh prepares for landmark vote
Elections seen as key to cementing peace deal in troubled Indonesian province.
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2006 08:53 GMT

Candidates have signed a pledge to keep the campaign free from violence

Election campaigning has begun in Indonesia's war-torn and disaster-stricken province of Aceh, in preparation for a landmark vote next month.
 
The elections, slated for December 11, will mark the northern province’s first ever direct vote for top executive posts, including the provincial governor and deputy governor.
The candidates have signed a pledge not to use violence or intimidation in the election.
 
However, a day before the official start of the campaign, one of the candidates for the provincial governorship was attacked by a mob in the province's Bireuen district.
 
Ahmad Humam Hamid said he and his campaign team were attacked by men claiming to be supporters of an official in the former secessionist Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
 
Hamid said the assailants burned campaign materials and vandalized vehicles used by his team.
 
Lasting peace
 
European Union election monitors
are in Aceh to oversee the vote
 
Nonetheless most observers predict the campaigns and elections will be mostly free from violence with a succesful vote seen as vital to ensuring a lasting peace in the province. 
 
The European Union is sending an 80-member monitoring team to verify that the elections are fair and democratic.
 
Aceh has been left battered by decades of civil war and the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, which killed more than 130,000 people in the province.
 
The disaster helped spur a peace agreement between GAM and the government in Jakarta signed in December last year.
 
With more than 15,000 people killed in the secessionist conflict, both sides agreed they did not want to contribute to any more suffering.
 
Several former GAM rebels are standing as candidates in the elections.
 
The government has allowed them to participate in politics in exchange for giving up their arms and dropping their independence bid.
 
Aside from the governor and deputy, 19 regents and mayors across Aceh are up for election.
 
 
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.