Challenger appears headed for victory in Aceh vote | News | DW | 09.04.2012
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Challenger appears headed for victory in Aceh vote

The main challenger to the incumbent governor of Aceh appears headed for victory in Monday's election in the Indonesian province. The polls were the second since the end of the province's bitter civil conflict.

Voters went to the polls to elect a new governor in the Indonesian province of Aceh on Monday.

They had five candidates on the ballots to choose from, including the incumbent, Irwandi Yusuf and his main challenger, Zaini Abdullah. Both are former rebels with the Free Aceh movement.

The Indonesian Survey Institute said "quick count" results indicated that Abdullah was likey headed for victory. Quick count results are based on samples of votes taking from some polling stations.

These gave Abdullah 55 percent of the votes compared to 29 percent for Yusuf. Official results weren't expected to be announced for a few days' time.

Thirteen people were killed in pre-election violence in the province, which until a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2004, was wracked by a bitter civil conflict. Voting day itself, though appears to have been largely peaceful.

Following the natural disaster, which claimed 230,000 lives, three quarters of which were in Aceh, both the government and the rebels agreed to lay down their arms.

"The situation is favourable," Aceh's police chief, Inspector General Iskandar Hasan told the news agency dpa. "Since last night, we have been patrolling areas that are prone to security disturbances with the help of soldiers," he added.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia which is ruled by Islamic Shariah law. This means that women are required to wear headscarves and alcohol is banned.

Voters were also casting their ballots in municipal and district elections.

pfd/mz (AP, dpa)