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Jakarta Post

Jakarta’s long search for deputy governor postponed over COVID-19 fears

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, March 20, 2020   /   06:57 pm
Jakarta’s long search for deputy governor postponed over COVID-19 fears Jakarta City Council speaker Prasetyo Edi Marsudi talks to the press at his office on March 17. (JP/ Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman)

The long search for a figure to fill the Jakarta administration's deputy governor position will be postponed amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the capital, the city council has said.

The Jakarta City Council originally planned to hold a confirmation hearing on March 23 to choose between Gerindra Party politician Ahmad Riza Patria and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Nurmansyah Lubis to be Governor Anies Baswedan's second-in-command.

Council speaker Prasetyo Edi Marsudi said on Friday that the hearing would be delayed until further notice.

“I decided to postpone it, considering the impossible situation caused by the coronavirus. We are all concerned and must understand that this incident is extraordinary,” Prasetyo said on Friday.

The deputy governor's seat has been left vacant for more than a year since the former deputy governor, Gerindra Party politician Sandiaga Uno, resigned in September 2018 to be the running mate of then presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 elections.

Read also: Jakarta deputy governor confirmation hearing to go ahead despite COVID-19

The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) holds the most seats on the 106-strong council with 25, followed by Gerindra with 19 and the PKS with 15.

The feasibility of holding the March 23 plenary session has been questioned as the central government and the Jakarta administration have advised against large-scale meetings to prevent wider transmission of the coronavirus.

Prasetyo said the council would not receive or conduct any visits for the time being as a preventive measure against COVID-19. 

The governor himself has been promoting social distancing amid the pandemic by closing schools and tourism destinations in the capital and by advising less travel and fewer mass gatherings, even suspending mass worship for two weeks.

As of Friday, Indonesia reported 369 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 32 fatalities. The capital city itself had 215 cases, including 18 deaths.

At least 17 people have recovered from the disease so far. (mfp)