‘The Red Party’

BANDA ACEH, (TAG) – One and the only largest local party in Indonesia’s Aceh Sunday declared its candidates running on a long-awaited local elections to choose governor, four mayors and 13 districts’ chief in the northern tip Sumatra island’s province. It dominates the provincial and some districts legislatures after overwhelming won the 2009 legislative election.

Most of  its attributes and flag are red. So, it called ‘the red party’. The party was founded by former member of now-dispanded Free Aceh Movement (GAM) guerillas.
An Aceh Party's supporter smiling during a rally in Banda Aceh - MAIMUN SALEH PHOTO 
Aceh is the only region in Indonesia can form the local party as mandated in a 2005 historic truce signed by GAM and Indonesia government in Helsinki to end a 29-year guerillas war in the oil and gas-rich province that claimed more than 25,000 people, mostly civilians.
A supporter claps the hands during Aceh Party's rally - MAIMUN SALEH PHOTO
The upcoming polls scheduled April 9 after three time postponed. It had initially been to take place last November, then delayed and rescheduled twice on Desember 24 and February 16 but later got derailed when the Aceh Party threatened a boycott in response to national Constitutional Court ruling in 2010 allowing independent candidates to run on Aceh elections.
An Aceh Party's supporter shaves during attending the rally - ZULKARNAINI  PHOTO
Aceh Election Independent Commission (KIP) went on to register candidates anyway, regardless of the boycott by the local party. The Aceh Party registered finally its candidates in January 20 after the court ordering KIP for the second time the reopening of registration window for candidates who missed out on the previous periods. Last November, the court ordered the same ruling but Aceh Party refused to register its candidates.
A supporter sit on soccer's wicket during an Aceh Party's rally - ZULKARNAINI PHOTO
The Aceh Party’s gubernatorial candidate Zaini Abdullah was the former GAM foreign minister in exile. His running mate is Muzakir Manaf, former GAM’s top commander who also the chairman of Aceh Party.
A colorful red dominated ceremony held in a soccer field H. Dimurthala Lampineung attended by more than ten thousands supporters and former GAM fighters across the province. Besides the governor candidates, the Aceh Party also declared some 15 candidates running to the districts’ chiefs and mayors.
A supporter painting his body during Aceh Party rally - ZULKARNAINI PHOTO
At least three Indonesian Army retired general attending the ceremony along with dozens national based politicians and local figures. Previously, The Aceh Party officials claimed its gubernatorial candidate will gain 60 per cent voters.
Aceh Party’s candidate Zaini to race alongside Irwandi Yusuf, former governor and a fellow former GAM official, as well as ex-Deputy Governor Muhammad Nazar, Ahmad Tajuddin, a local traditional of Islamic boarding school and Darni M. Daud, the Rector of Syiah Kuala University.
Aceh Party's supporters cheer during candidates declaration rally in Banda Aceh - ZULKARNAINI PHOTO
Only Nazar and Zaini backed by political parties, with the three others running as independent candidates. Nazar is backed by the coalition of the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, United Development Party (PPP) and Aceh People’s Independent Voice (SIRA) Party, another local party that doesn't have any seat on the provincial parliament. It was founded by former student activists who once actively campaigned a pro-independence referendum during the conflict.[]

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