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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Election watchdog calls on Jokowi to postpone regional elections

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, March 29, 2020   /   06:28 pm
COVID-19: Election watchdog calls on Jokowi to postpone regional elections A man dips his finger in indelible ink in Denpasar, Bali, after voting in the Bali gubernatorial election in 2018. (JP/Anggara Mahendra)

The Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) has called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) following the General Elections Commission’s (KPU) decision to postpone several preparatory steps for the simultaneous regional elections due to the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“Postponing the 2020 regional elections should be one of the government’s top priorities to halt the spread of COVID-19, so the President should support the idea by issuing a Perppu,” Perludem executive director Titi Anggraini said in a statement on Saturday.

Her statement came in response to the KPU's decision to postpone the preparation stages of the regional elections, including the inauguration of polling committee (PPS) members, the verification process for independent candidates as well as updating the voters list. Those preparations were supposed to be done by the KPU from March 22 to May 17.

While applauding the commission's decision, Titi said the postponement did not have a strong legal basis and that a Perppu was needed to validate the move.

She said the postponement would certainly disrupt the regional elections schedule, but the KPU could not easily reschedule the election, given that Article 201 of the 2016 Regional Elections Law explicitly stipulated that simultaneous regional elections should be conducted in September 2020.

“To give the government the flexibility to change the date for the regional elections, the President must issue a Perppu,” she said.

Issuing the regulation, she added, would also signal that the government appreciated all of the KPU’s work in preparing the regional elections.

“The 2009 Constitutional Court ruling allows the government to issue a Perppu in times of urgency, and delaying regional election preparations is an urgent situation, as we’re currently facing a tough situation,” Titi said.

Two hundred and seventy regional elections were scheduled for this year, comprising nine gubernatorial races, 224 regency elections and 37 mayoral elections. (glh)