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Several regions postpone early stages of 2020 regional elections as COVID-19 spreads

Jakarta Post - March 23, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya and Arya Dipa, Jakarta and Bandung – Several regions have postponed the preliminary stages of the 2020 regional elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) issued a decree on the postponement on Sunday but has not changed the date on which the elections will take place, which is Sept. 23.

According to the letter, four stages of this year's regional elections can be postponed to May, namely the inauguration of voting committee (PPS) members, the verification process for independent candidates, as well as updates on voter data and the voter list.

The KPU will continue to monitor the developments of COVID-19 in Indonesia and make any changes to the election schedule accordingly.

Five out of eight regions in West Java have decided to postpone the preliminary stages: Depok city, Sukabumi regency, Bandung regency, Karawang regency and Indramayu regency.

Meanwhile, Cianjur, Tasikmalaya and Pangandaran regencies will go ahead with the inauguration of voting committee members as they do not have any confirmed COVID-19 case so far. They will also start verifying independent candidates on Wednesday as scheduled.

However, they are required to postpone the remaining stages.

"They have been pushed back to May 29. We will continue after the central KPU decides on a new schedule in around June," said West Java KPU chairman Rifqi Alimubarok.

KPU Surakarta in Central Java has also decided to postpone the early stages of the 2020 regional elections to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.KPU Surakarta chair Nurul Sutarti said the decision was made after several meetings with the Central Java KPU and Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi "Rudy" Rudyatmo.

Nurul said the new dates would be decided by the provincial and central KPU.

"We have 162 voting committee members that are supposed to be inaugurated on March 22, but we have to postpone that – at least for the next 14 days," Nurul said on Monday as quoted by Antara.

In the meantime, KPU Gowa regency in South Sulawesi has also decided to postpone the stages prior to the elections, tribunnews.com reported on Sunday.

KPU Gowa chair Muhtar Muis said the delay would be carried out until further notice.

West Java has confirmed 59 positive cases of COVID-19, while the death toll has reached nine as of Sunday. Meanwhile, Central Java has 15 cases with three deaths and South Sulawesi has two cases with no fatalities.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/03/23/several-regions-postpone-early-stages-of-2020-regional-elections-as-covid-19-spreads.html