A polling station officer arranges ballot boxes during the 2019 double elections in West Aceh, Aceh. (Antara Photo/Syifa Yulinnas)

Regional Elections to Be Held as Planned in September


MARCH 18, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia's chief security minister has confirmed there have been no changes in the schedule for regional elections planned for September, despite suggestions the government should postpone the elections due to the escalating coronavirus outbreak.

The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud M.D., said ministries and state agencies have discussed the current situation and decided to carry out the regional elections according to plan.


"I discussed the issue with the chairmen of the General Elections Commission [KPU] and the Election Supervisory Agency [Bawaslu], commissioners of the Election Organizers Ethics Council [DKPP], the Indonesian Military [TNI] Commander and the National Police Chief," Mahfud said in a recorded press briefing.

"The conclusion of the meeting was that there would be no changes in the staging and schedule of the regional elections," he said.

However, Mahfud admitted there would be slight changes in procedures. For example, the voting committee members (PPS) would now take their oath in subdistrict offices, instead of the usual large-scale ceremonies at the district level.

"The PPS can be sworn-in by the subdistricts instead of districts. They should be done gradually to avoid large gatherings of people," Mahfud said.

The factual verification stage, which usually involves a large number of supporters, will be carried out according to instructions from the government's Covid-19 Task Force led by Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo.

On Tuesday, Doni announced the extension of the Covid-19 emergency period in Indonesia until May 29.

Mahfud said the announcement had not gone unnoticed by the KPU, who responded quickly by preparing the necessary protocols to ensure the preliminary stages of the regional elections can still run relatively smoothly during the outbreak.

However, the minister said the KPU has only prepared protocols until the end of the emergency period.

Indonesia has reported 227 Covid-19 cases as of Wednesday, doubling every third day. It also saw one of the worst fatality rates from the coronavirus in the world, with 19 deaths, or 8.3 percent of the number of confirmed cases. The country now has the largest number of Covid-19 fatalities in Southeast Asia.