GAM initiates formation of local political party

Aceh Kita – June 5, 2007
GAM Prime Minister Malik Mahmud (Tribune)
GAM Prime Minister Malik Mahmud (Tribune)

Banda Aceh – The Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has begun to initiate steps to form a local political party. The idea was revealed during a meeting between GAM leaders, the entire staff of the Aceh Transitional Committee (KPA) and activists from the Aceh Referendum Information Center (SIRA), which took place at the Asrama Haji in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Monday June 4.

Also present at the forum were former GAM Prime Minister Malik Mahmud, KPA Chairperson Muzakir Manaf, Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, Malaysian GAM figure Nur Djuli, former KPA spokesperson Sofyan Dawood and Munawarliza Zein (the mayor of Sabang).

Manaf said that the idea to form a GAM local political party represents a part of GAM’s political struggle following the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by GAM and the Indonesian government on August 15, 2005.

He said that right now is the perfect time for GAM to continue its struggle to determine the fate and future of the Acehnese people. “Now is the time for us to undertake measures to create an Aceh that is more just and dignified”, he asserted.

It was noted that in order for a party established by GAM to be successful and be accepted by all Acehnese people, all parties, particularly former GAM members that are part of the KPA must support it. “The future success of this party will be carried on all of our shoulders”, warned Manaf.

The forum also included a short presentation on the layout and structure of the party’s management boards that was presented by GAM figure Tgk Yahya Muaz. Although no board member names were given, at a glance the structure and layout of the party appeared to be very thorough. In addition to a central management board which was referred to as the Majelis Pusat (central council), there is also the Majelis Tuha Peut (four member advisory council) and management boards at the gampong level (based on the Meunasah, or small-sized mosque), which will be called Majelis Tuha Delapan Sagoe (eight member village councils).

GAM however is yet to give a name to the local political party. The forum of GAM leaders and members was closed to the public with each person wanting to enter being closely checked and having to show their invitation. [adw]