UN chief hails Aceh elections

Kofi Annan calls for results to be respected to consolidate the peace process.

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


    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.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.