Indonesia: Averting Election Violence in Aceh
| International Crisis Group | 2012
In less than two months, on 9 April, Aceh will go to thepolls to elect a governor and vice governor, as well as seventeendistrict heads and deputies. Despite rhetoricalcommitments on the part of all contenders to a peacefulelection, the potential for isolated acts of violence betweennow and then is high; the potential for trouble afterthe results are announced may be even higher, especiallyif it is a close election. Getting as many trained monitorsto Aceh as possible in the coming weeks is critical.
Whether violence materialises may depend on severalfactors:
- the number of election monitors deployed and the speedwith which they get to Aceh. The campaign is alreadywell underway for all practical purposes, even thoughofficially it does not begin until 22 March. The monitoringneeds to start now, not days before the election;
- the speed with which the police can identify and arrestthe gunmen responsible for shootings in December2011 and January 2012 that took the lives of ten men,most of them poor Javanese workers. The killings arewidely believed to have been politically motivated;
- the ability of the election oversight committee (PanitiaPengawas Pilkada) to investigate reported violationsand quickly take action; and