Banda Aceh – Aguswandi BR and Thamrin Ananda have been elected by acclaim as the general chairperson and secretary general of the Acehnese People’s Party for the next five year period. They were democratically elected by around 400 participants of the first congress of the Preparatory Committee for the Acehnese People’s Party (KP-PRA) that has been taking place at the Aula State Vocational School in Banda Aceh since Tuesday February 27. The congress ended today on March 2.
There were in fact 10 candidates nominated by congress participants including Raihana Diani (chairperson of the Women’s Organisation for Aceh Democracy, ORPAD), Tarmizi Msi (former general secretary of Student Solidarity for the People, SMUR), Fuad Mardhatillah (a lecturer from the Ar-Raniry State Institute of Islamic Studies), Ely Supriadi (Aceh Fraternity) and Mahmudal (former chairperson of SMUR). However when asked if they were prepared to be nominated as candidate leaders of the party they refused. Only Aguswandi and Ananda stated that they were ready to be nominated as general chairperson and secretary general.
Ananda, who had earlier been put forward as general chairperson declined to be nominated for the position saying that it would be more appropriate for the post to be held by Aguswandi. Likewise, Aguswandi said he would be ready to lead the party if he was pared up with Ananda. In the end, participants elected the two youths as leaders of the PRA. Earlier, a number of participants had insisted that the election by held through a vote as two tickets had been put forward, Aguswandi (as general chairperson) paired with Ananda (as general secretary). The other ticket meanwhile was Ananda (as general chairperson) and Aguswandi (as general secretary).
The chairperson of the congress organising committee, Rahmat Djailani, said that the election of the party leadership proceeded democratically. “Now there is a definitive general chairperson and general secretary”, said Rahmat following the election. Rahmat himself was also nominated as a candidate along with Raihana but both withdrew from the nomination.
With this new leadership said Rahmat, the KP-PRA will be disbanded within a short time. “The KP-PRA no longer exists. Later we will declare it as the Acehnese People’s Party”, he said. However the schedule for the declaration of the PRA as the first local political party in Aceh remains unclear.
Ananda meanwhile said that he and Aguswandi would carry out the tasks given to them by the congress. But when asked about the future program, Ananda declined to elaborate. “Later we will convey it to the public. Not right now”, he said. “Including the PRA’s views on the present government, local party candidates that will be declared”.
Aguswandi is not new to PRA activist circles. During the 1999 reform period, the man born in Sibreh, Greater Aceh held the position of SMUR general secretary. Within student activist circles, Aguswandi is known as an activist vocal in challenging government policies that fail to side with the ordinary people. At the time he vigorously challenged the militaristic policies of the government in dealing with the Aceh conflict. As a consequence of his stand, the commander of the Teuku Umar 012 District Military Command, Syarifuddin Tippe, once referred to him as an enemy of the state. [dzie]