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Jakarta Post

KPU regulates campaign methods amid COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 10, 2020   /   04:40 pm
KPU regulates campaign methods amid COVID-19 pandemic Rosalia Wewengkang (center), 90, walks toward the voting booth with two people assisting her at Padarambu polling station 09 in Watunggene subdistrict, Kota Komba district, East Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara on presidential and legislative elections day held simultaneously on April 17, 2019. (JP/Markus Makur)

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has issued a regulation on the upcoming 2020 regional polls that stipulates health protocols for the concurrent elections being held in 270 regions across Indonesia amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under KPU Regulation No. 6/2020 on regional elections amid COVID-19 published on Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, election participants are only allowed to hold physical mass campaigns in zones declared COVID-19-free by the local COVID-19 task force.

"Election participants must make an effort to carry out mass campaigns through online media,” the regulation stated.

Read also: Health measures will increase cost of regional elections

Any physical mass campaigns must be held in an open space, starting at 9 a.m. local time and ending no later than 5 p.m. The venue must not exceed 50 percent of its capacity, and a distance of 1 meter must be maintained between participants.

The regulation also stipulated that election debates should only be attended by the candidate pairs, a limited number of campaign team members and election organizers.

Debates should be held in a broadcasting studio or other location without inviting other people or supporters in order to avoid virus transmission.

In addition to physical mass campaigns, the KPU still allows several other methods such as face-to-face meetings and dialogues, campaign material distribution, campaign advertisements in mass media, and/or other activities such as physical and virtual mass campaigns like performing arts events and social activities.

Health experts had previously warned that holding the elections in December could increase COVID-19 transmission, given that the preliminary stages of the elections would start in June, assembling many people including election officials, the candidates’ campaign team members and voters.

Experts also cautioned that the event would endanger the public and threaten election officials' health, as over 800 election officials across the country died during the 2019 general elections as a result of poor health and exhaustion.

The government had insisted on holding the elections in December, arguing that the schedule had been pushed back from the initial date of Sept. 23.