Adi Warsidi, Banda Aceh – The GAM Party, one of the local political parties in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, has officially changed its party name and symbol.
“They (the GAM Party) have changed their name and symbol and registered a certificate of the change with us,” said the head of the regional office of the Department of Justice and Human Rights, Syamsul Bahri SH, when speaking with Tempo in Banda Aceh on Tuesday February 26.
According to Bahri, the certificate was submitted to the department’s regional office yesterday, February 26. The name “GAM Party”, which was previously not spelled out in full, has now been changed to the Autonomous Aceh Party (Partai Aceh Mandiri). The party’s symbol, which was previously adorned with the crescent moon and star (the same as the Free Aceh Movement flag), has now been removed and replaced with the words GAM. The background is the same as before with red and black lines on the top and bottom.
Bahri said that the schedule for the first round of political party verifications will between February 28 and March 17. During this period, only three local parties will would undergo verification: the Aceh People’s Party (PRA), the Darussalam Party and the Aceh Muslims Integrationist Party (PPMA).
The change by the GAM Party leadership represents a positive response on their part to two letters sent earlier by the Aceh regional office of the Department of Justice and Human Rights.
Aceh Transitional Committee spokesperson Ibrahim Syamsuddin, who is also a leading member of the GAM Party said that the change was made based on a number of considerations and for sake of ending the polemics about the party’s name and symbol that have persisted up until now. “We’re stepping back. We thought this move through carefully and maturely for the sake ensuring that there will be no more polemics,” he said.
With relation to the verification, Syamsuddin said he is certain that the GAM Party will pass the local political verification process later. “So that the party can become a channel for the aspirations of the Acehnese people who love peace”.
A Detik.com article posted on the same day reported that the full name is Partai Gerakan Aceh Mandiri or Autonomous Aceh Movement Party, the abbreviation of which is the same as the original name, the GAM Party (Partai GAM).
[Translated by James Balowski.]