Antara, Jakarta – The Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) has urged the government to postpone some of the procedural formalities in the regional head elections (pilkada) in wake of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
The NGO has asked that certain poll processes, such as the inauguration of the voting committee (PPS), verification of prospective candidates, matching of voters' data, and research be postponed as part of COVID-19 countermeasures.
"We consider it the right measure, although it is quite late, because since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have urged the KPU (General Elections Commission) to make adjustments to the process schedule, " said Perludem executive director Titi Anggraini on Saturday.
The KPU needs to make the changes because COVID-19 has become a global pandemic and triggered a national emergency situation, she said.
"In our opinion, the regional head elections must not be excluded from the national emergency procedures so that all parties involved in organizing the elections comply with and abide by the protocol for handling COVID-19, which has been promulgated by the government," she said.
The pilkada implementation processes would include face-to-face meetings between election organizers and voters, she said.
"So, it is strange that in the midst of the current national emergency, the KPU has still decided to proceed with the election process as usual," she said.
The postponement of the pilkada process would not violate existing regulations, she added.
"There are arrangements for follow-up elections and supplementary elections, as stated in Article 120 and Article 121 of Law Number 1/2015 on the Election of Governors, District Heads, and Mayors," she noted.