Photo: Meredith Weiss.
Aceh's Elections: A Do-It-Yourself Analysis

(Jakarta, 31 March 2014) Local elections on 9 April 2014 will return Partai Aceh to power – the only question is the margin of its victory.

The formidable political machine led by figures of the old rebel diaspora and the former military commander of the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) has a weak local challenger, Partai Nasional Aceh (PNA). PNA, led by former governor Irwandi Yusuf, also from GAM, has none of the resources or grassroots network that Partai Aceh, after five years in power, has been able to marshal for the campaign.

Aceh’s Elections: A Do-It-Yourself Analysis, the latest IPAC report, gives the basic facts and figures of the election together with a chart that readers can fill in as results come in to compare Partai Aceh’s performance this year with past elections.

  • In 2009, Partai Aceh secured 33 of the 69 seats in the provincial assembly and through alliance building, controlled another nine. This year the assembly has been expanded to 81 seats; can PA increase its grip?
  • In 2009, rival local parties only managed to secure one seat in the assembly. This time, PNA is targeting 25 but needs at least seven to constitute a formal bloc. It has little chance of making inroads on the populous east coast – can it pick up enough votes elsewhere?
  • PA controls ten out of 23 district assemblies – will it pick up even more?
  • Local parties cannot field candidates for national office, so PA has made an alliance with Gerindra, Prabowo Subianto’s party, just as in 2009, it allied with President Yudhoyono’s Partai Demokrat. In 2009, seven out of Aceh’s thirteen seats for the national parliament (DPR-RI) went to the Demokrats. Will Gerindra be able to do as well?

“The best outcome for Aceh – more checks on Partai Aceh’s power – is also the least likely,” says Sidney Jones, IPAC director. “Aceh is in for five more years of poor governance and unaccountable institutions.”

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©2013 Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.