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Draft law on Aceh to be submitted to parliament Thursday

Detik.com - January 25, 2006

Luhur Hertanto, Jakarta – The government has finally completed compiling the Draft Law on a Government for Aceh and is ready to submit it to the House of Representatives (DPR). President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will today – Wednesday January 25 – study the final draft to prepare a Presidential Instruction (Ampres).

“The government has finalised it, it was submitted to the president yesterday. He will read it in Bali and we will accommodate [any changes] immediately after he returns to Jakarta. If the president signs it tomorrow, tomorrow it will also be submitted to the DPR”, said State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra.

This was conveyed to journalists who met Mahendra at his office on Jalan Majapahit in Jakarta. Mahendra hopes that with the draft law being submitted to the DPR this week, it can be ratified according to the time limit contained in the Helsinki Memorandum of understanding, that is March 31.

“The president has already ordered me and [Home Affairs Minister] Mr. Ma'ruf to discuss the draft law in the DPR”, added Mahendra.

No independent candidates yet

Touching on the clause that accommodates the political rights of former members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in relation to independent candidates and local political parties, Mahendra said that this is not included in the draft law. This will instead be regulated later when revisions are made to the Law on Political Parties.

This means that there will be no possibility yet for there to be independent candidates for the election of the Acehnese governor in April, unless they are prepared to and are declared fit to be nominated by an existing officially recognised political party participating in the elections.

“But in fact there’s no other way, because particularly in Aceh, that is if there are local political parties that can be formed by anyone as long as they fulfil the conditions that are regulated by this law on Aceh. So if those figures form a local party, yeah, they can be nominated through that local political party, if perhaps the parties that exist now in Aceh are not prepared to nominate them”, he explained at great length.

According to the agreement between the Indonesian government and GAM, local political parties can be formed at the latest 18 months after August 2005. This means February next year. (nrl)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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