UN chief hails Aceh elections
Kofi Annan calls for results to be respected to consolidate the peace process.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2006 09:09 GMT

Many hope the elections will mark a new beginning in the strife-torn province

Kofi Annan has hailed the elections in the Indonesian province of Aceh and urged all sides to abide by the official results due to be released in January.
Irwandi Yusuf, a former rebel leader who was jailed for treason in late 2004, has emerged as the clear favourite in the eight-candidate race to be governor.
Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesman, said Annan was "encouraged by the orderly conduct" of the polls.
This is the first local election following a peace deal inked between the government and separatists last year.
Said Dujarric: "The secretary-general calls on all parties to respect the results of these elections in order to help consolidate the peace process, which aims to build a secure and prosperous Aceh within a united and democratic Indonesia."
Quick counts, or statistical surveys of vote returns with a margin of error of 1 to 2 per cent, indicate that Irwandi has secured about 39 per cent of the vote.
Irwandi, who negotiated for the Free Aceh Movement separatists in talks with Jakarta, said late on Monday that he would wait for the commission's official result before declaring victory.
But the 46-year-old, more of an academic than a gun-toting rebel, said the road ahead would not be easy.
"My response is this is the dream of the Acehnese people being fulfilled and they want fundamental change in all aspects of life and governance. It will be hard work for me," he said.
In Jakarta, Jusuf Kalla, the vice-president of Indonesia, said the government would respect the outcome "whomever the winner".
But General Djoko Suyanto, Indonesia's military chief, said the preliminary was indicative of "a victory for the Acehnese people" and not a victory for the former rebels.
He added that the military would work to uphold peace.
The Helsinki peace deal ended almost three decades of conflict in the province located on the northeastern tip of Sumatra.
The government and the separatist movement signed a preliminary peace deal in July last year followed by a memorandum of understanding on issues ranging from local governance and security arrangements to human rights.
Topics in this article
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.
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.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.