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MILF calls for deferment of ARMM elections

By: - Correspondent / @csenaseINQ
/ 02:23 PM September 25, 2012

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front urged the government  on Tuesday to postpone the regional elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao  until after the conclusion of the ongoing peace talks and the signing of a peace agreement.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF political affairs chief, said rescheduling the regional elections—set along with national mid-term elections in May 2013— would be beneficial for the government as it would save money.

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“It would be better for the government to reschedule anew the ARMM elections while waiting for the outcome of the ongoing government-MILF peace talks,” Jaafar said.

He said if ARMM elections pushed through in May next year, the government would spend money again when the new political entity to replace the ARMM is created.

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Under the peace negotiations, the government and the MILF have agreed on the creation of a new entity that in essence will expand the territory of the ARMM. The new political set-up could be finalized in the he final phase of the negotiations.

Jaafar said the MILF was not interested in fielding or supporting candidates in next year’s elections as it maintains that the exercise is not in accordance with the spirit of the peace negotiations.

“We will remain neutral,” he said.

In past elections, the MILF also did not officially support or field candidates although it did not discourage  its members from voting.

It suspended  then MILF spokesman  Eid Kabalu after he announced his intention to run for ARMM governor in regional elections that had been scheduled for August 2011 but which the Philippine Congress subsequently scrapped through a law that synchronized the next regional voting with next year’s national mid-term elections.

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TAGS: Autonomy, Elections, MILF, Moro Insurgency, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Peace Talks, Politics
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