Aceh Peace Threatened by ‘Democracy Deficit’

Aceh Peace Threatened by ‘Democracy Deficit’

DENPASAR, Indonesia -- Not very long ago, many observers considered Aceh, Indonesia's formerly war-torn separatist province, a success story. But a recent rise in political violence has led Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Aceh Governor Yusuf Irwandi to warn against potential spoilers of Aceh's peace process. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, who brokered the 2005 deal between the former secessionist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and Jakarta, has also emphasized that a long-term resolution is far from ensured.

Tucked in the westernmost corner of the Indonesian archipelago, Aceh's conflict ended in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami that killed 168,000 people. The tsunami destroyed large swathes of the province and dwarfed the political ambitions of both the insurgents and the Indonesian government, who had been at war for three decades.

The immediate post-war period was indeed a grand success, crowned with local elections held in 2006. The election of Irwandi, himself a former GAM member, was lauded worldwide. A progressive disengagement by the international community followed, while the national political elite moved its attention elsewhere, apparently satisfied with the happy ending.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.