A friend who’s head of the Political and Peace Division of the Aceh National Party (Partai Nasional Aceh /PNA) forwarded me and some mutual colleagues a translation of PNA’s Press Release that states the reasons why it refuses to accept the result of the April 9th Legislative Election.
He writes, “Thanking you in advance for any action you can take in this matter towards improving the chances of successful democratization process in this post-conflict area where the peace process is supposed to be a model of successful post-conflict management.”
And here it is [with minor grammar edits]. Please read and share it.
PNA WILL RESIST
The Partai Nasional Aceh (PNA) is a local party formed in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed in Helsinki on August 15 2005 that ended the 30 year bloody conflict. It was formed by ex-GAM combatants, former peace negotiators in Helsinki, human rights/humanitarian/socio-political and women activists, intellectuals, religious leaders, and traders. It has continually tried to participate in the democratic political process within the frame of the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia in polite, civilized practices and law and order adherence at all times. However, during the period of this so-called “fiesta of democracy” in Aceh--the legislative election of April 9 2014-- this patient and restrained attitude was responded to with intimidation, oppression, cheating, atrocities and even assassinations by one of its local rival parties, aided by the machinery and leadership of the local government of Aceh and by the local electoral commission itself.
From the early days of its formation two years ago up to the days of the votes counting, PNA has registered all sorts of cheating and violent actions perpetrated against it by officials of the rival political party as well as by the electoral commission officers, including such acts as:
1. Murders of one of the ex-regional commanders of GAM who was at the forefront of the formation of the party, of a school teacher who had just announced his candidacy for the Aceh house of representatives (DPRA), of a campaigner who was lynched to death while drinking coffee at a well-known café in the middle of capital city of North Aceh, and of another while driving home in his car. A female candidate had parked her car in the garage of her house when it was burnt down. Several other cars belonging to party campaigners were completely wrecked. Attempted arsons on offices and houses belonging to party official are common incidents. Such incidents continued till the vote counting days.
2. Intimidation of witnesses of PNA at vote counting centers, where the Party in power [PA, Partai Aceh] has strong influence, made it impossible for these witnesses to function and about a hundred of them had to resign, fearing the safety not only of themselves but also of their families;
3. Intimidation and violence have been carried out systematically by the Party in power by instructing voters at the polling stations to vote for the party. Video recordings are available showing a truck painted with the colors of this party parked at a polling center and polling officials directing voters where to punch [their voting card]. When a reporter and cameraman working for a major British television station asked the policeman guarding the gate to the center why he allowed the car to be parked there, the policeman said: “They are on patrol.” Upon being asked about officials directing voters where to punch he said: “He was just trying to help.” Incidents like this are common, only not that many have been recorded by independent reporters.
4. KIP (Independent Electoral Commission) officials from the District/Town Councils all the way up to the Provincial levels, as well as staff carrying out various duties at the polling centers such as the PPK, PPS and the KPPS have been appointed by the Party in power through the DPRA (Aceh Parliament) controlled by the Partai Aceh, and some of them are openly members of the said party. Demands by other parties, local and national, that this appointment be done by the Central Electoral Commission, were ignored.
5. The mandates of the Electoral Control Commissions of Bawaslu and Panwas are deliberately not sanctioned by the Aceh Government, making them unable to function properly, especially when their assigned budgets and operational facilities were withdrawn by the Aceh Government.
6. The voting day itself was colored by massive fraud, whereby KPPS officials openly directed voters where to punch on the ballot papers. Witnesses could not function fully as pointed out above due to intimidation. Counting of votes and later the recapitulations processes were carried out behind closed doors, with the Government saying that these these processes are an internal matter of the government and that the public and the press would be given the official tallies when they were ready. On several occasions there were power outages at the centers, and the counting process was continued with light provided by small handheld flashlights. As vote counting continued non-stop all day and all night, many witnesses were too tired to continue and abandoned their posts. The electoral commission should have informed the participating parties of this possibility so that shift teams of witnesses could be arranged in advance.
7. The Aceh government’s partiality in favor of the Party in power at all levels of the province down to the sub-districts is openly practiced and well documented, including the use of public funds and facilities for the purpose of campaigning, issuing threats of dismissals to civil servants who would fail to carry out instruction to support the candidates of the Party in power, and awarding governmental cash grants for mosques and for village heads in front of the polling centers when people are queuing to vote.
8. Money politics are practiced not only in the form of donating campaign funds without proper documentation but paying cash to voters through village heads in what is known as “dawn attacks.”
Based on the cited grave violations of all electoral rules cited above, the Aceh National Party does hereby state categorically and firmly that:
-- WE REJECT THE “PEMILU 2014” ELECTION, including all its results
-- WE WILL NO LONGER PARTICIPATE in future Pemilu electoral stages
-- We shall take all other possible and necessary actions to fight for the political rights and dignity of the Acehnese people
-- We shall conduct resistant actions and instruct all of PNA’s regional leaderships, cadres, members and those who sympathize with the Party to conduct actions of resistance at all levels as parts of our self-defense measures against tyrannical oppression.
We do hereby call on and urge all our pro-democracy friends and the media to help distribute this public statement as widely as possible, and we thank all in advance.
Banda Aceh, 19 April 2014