A swearing-in ceremony for Palu's mayor and deputy mayor at the city's Vatulemo Square in November last year. (Antara Photo/Mohamad Hamzah).

Elections Commission Urged to Postpone Regional Election Preliminary Stages

BY :TARA MARCHELIN

MARCH 18, 2020

Jakarta. The Association for Elections and Democracy, or Perludem, has urged the General Elections Commission, or KPU, to postpone the preliminary stages of the 2020 regional elections that require crowd interaction for the next 14 days due to the continuing Covid-19 outbreak.  

Perludem executive director Titi Anggraeni said on Tuesday the KPU should put the safety and health of voters first. 

"Postponing these preliminary stages will not necessarily postpone the election date. The KPU still has until Sept. 23 to make the necessary adjustments," Titi told the Jakarta Globe.

She said the preliminary stages include recruitment of voting officers, factual verification for independent candidates and disseminating information about the election to the public. 

"The KPU should heed the government's appeal to limit crowd interaction to prevent the spread of Covid-19," Titi said.

According to a 2015 law on gubernatorial, district head and mayoral elections, an election can be postponed if there is a riot, natural disaster or other security disruptions.

Titi said delaying the election might only cause some of the preliminary stages to be held at the same time.

On the upside, holding the election at a later date will ensure that everyone involved will be in their best physical and mental health.

"The KPU should really consider this alternative scenario [of postponing the election]. We should never risk the voters' health and safety," Titi said.

Perludem also urged the KPU to coordinate Covid-19 mitigation steps with the Health Ministry, including creating technical guidelines on Covid-19 prevention, mapping areas affected by Covid-19 and coordinating elections in regions affected by Covid-19 with the regional general elections commission (KPUD) and the regional governments.

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