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Jakarta Post

Authorities issue joint regulation to supervise regional elections amid pandemic

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 21, 2020   /   07:25 am
Authorities issue joint regulation to supervise regional elections amid pandemic The National Police chief, the attorney general and the head of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) signed on Monday a new joint regulation on the Integrated Law Enforcement Center (Sentra Gakkumdu) to supervise the 2020 regional elections in December. (JP/Anggara Mahendra)

The National Police chief, the attorney general and the head of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) signed on Monday a new joint regulation on the Integrated Law Enforcement Center (Sentra Gakkumdu) to supervise the 2020 regional elections in December.

The joint regulation consists of several adjustments, including on the implementation of health protocols during the regional elections. However, no further details regarding the changes have been provided yet.

“We face new challenges for the upcoming 2020 regional elections due to the pandemic, especially in collecting evidence on election violation cases, which is due in five days,” the head of Bawaslu, Abhan, said during a meeting on Monday.

He said the pandemic might hinder direct investigations of suspects due to the physical distancing policy.

“For example, when we receive a report [on a possible violation] and we need to summon someone [for an in-person investigation] but we can’t guarantee that the Bawaslu office is COVID-19-free, that person might be worried and refuse to come,” said Abhan.    

Read also: KPU regulates campaign methods amid COVID-19 pandemic

According to Abhan, 309 regions are set to supervise the regional elections. However, only 270 of them – nine provinces, 224 regencies and 37 cities – are registered to participate in the 2020 regional elections.

“Therefore, we need to pay attention to possible election violations in the 309 regions, and not just in the 270 regions,” he said.

The 2020 regional elections were postponed for three months due to COVID-19. They were initially slated for Sept. 23, but President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No. 2/2020 in May to reschedule the voting day to Dec. 9.

The three parties involved in the signing applauded the initiative, saying it was a tangible effort by authorities to run fair and honest elections.

“We need to be prepared in dealing with any kind of situation,” National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis said. 

Read also: Regional elections in December may escalate COVID-19 transmission: Public health experts

“I order the National Police’s operational assistant to select committed staff to be involved in the Gakkumdu team. If they do a good job on the joint team, give them rewards. It will motivate them to do better.” 

In addition, Attorney General ST Burhanuddin said, “some challenges might come up in the elections, such as a smear campaign and money politics. We need to be aware of that.”

Sentra Gakkumdu consists of members of Bawaslu and the National Police, as well as prosecutors. It is responsible for supervising, investigating and enforcing the law against crimes related to election violations. The joint team was first established during the 2015 regional elections.