The Jakarta Post
Government officials have expressed their concern over a regulation issued by the General Elections Commission (KPU) that allows crowd-pullers, including music concerts, to be held during the campaign period for December’s elections.
The regulation has been deemed counterproductive to the country’s efforts to curb COVID-19 infection, which has included restrictions on mass gatherings.
The Home Ministry’s politics and government affairs director general, Bahtiar, slammed the commission for allowing concerts to be held during campaigns.
“Concerts are banned everywhere in the world, it’s odd that Indonesia still allows [concerts] for the upcoming elections,” Bahtiar said during a press conference on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.
He said virtual concerts would not be a problem, but that Article 63 of KPU Regulation No.10/2020 on the staging of the regional elections stated that physical concerts were also allowed.
In addition to concerts, art performances, harvest festivals, walk and bike events, competitions, bazaars, blood donation drives and commemoration of parties’ anniversaries are among the activities permitted during campaigns.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s (BNPB) deputy head of system and strategy, Wisnu Widjaja, pointed to Article 59 of the KPU regulation on public debate.
“The article stipulates that a public debate may be attended by as many as 50 people. That's too many, the regulation needs to be evaluated,” he said on Tuesday during a webinar held by the national COVID-19 task force.
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and election activists and experts have called on the government to postpone the elections, which are set to take place on Dec. 9, because of public health risks and possible low voter turnout, particularly as 45 of 270 regions that will host elections have been declared high-risk areas.
Even during the early stages of the elections, the Elections Supervision Agency (Bawaslu) has recorded more than 240 violations of health protocols by election candidates. Most of the violations involved the candidates bringing large numbers of people when they registered to run at local election offices. (aly)