The Jakarta Post
As Indonesia is still grappling with rising COVID-19 infections, the General Elections Commission (KPU) has urged the government to revise the 2015 Regional Elections Law through a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) in order to impose strict health protocols during campaigns for the upcoming simultaneous regional elections.
KPU commissioner Virya Azis said the Perppu should adjust articles allowing crowd-gathering activities such as music concerts, which are allowed under the existing law, to better comply with health protocols to help cut the chain of coronavirus transmission and prevent regional elections clusters.
The Perppu, he added, should also enforce strict punishments for violators and allow alternative election activities such as virtual campaigns and electronic vote recaps.
“[Crowd-pulling campaigns] should be forbidden with heavy punishments through the Perppu,” Viryan said on Friday.
“One of the alternatives is to increase prohibition of campaigns [or other activities] that attract a crowd, including during balloting and vote counts.”
He suggested that after the Perppu was issued, candidates should be allowed to hold online campaign events to gather support.
Previously, government officials expressed concerns that KPU regulations allowed physical campaign events that could gather crowds such as concerts, art performances, festivals, competitions, bazaars, blood donation drives and commemorations of party anniversaries.
Following the concerns, KPU commissioner Dewa Raka Sandi said the regulations were made in accordance with existing laws, adding that the commission would look for ways to better align campaign regulations with COVID-19 prevention measures.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously issued Perppu No. 2/2020 to push back the 2020 simultaneous regional elections to December from their initial September date over coronavirus concerns.
As many as 270 regions across the archipelago will participate in this year’s elections to select their new leaders.
Many observers still urged the government to postpone the poll for safety reasons amid the spike of coronavirus cases, pointing out that the early stages of the elections alone saw many candidates violating health protocols. (mfp)