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Group files lawsuit demanding KPU, Bawaslu postpone Medan elections

Jakarta Post - September 18, 2020

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – The North Sumatra National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF) has filed a lawsuit against the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) demanding the two state bodies postpone the upcoming regional elections in Medan.

The class action lawsuit was filed by 10 members of the GNPF at the Medan District Court on Wednesday.

The head of the GNPF's regional elections working group in North Sumatra, Tumpal Panggabean, said Medan had seen a rising trend in new COVID-19 cases in the last three months, which made regional elections unfeasible.

"The number of new COVID-19 cases in Medan is increasing every day, the city had been declared as a level 3 red zone," Tumpal told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

"If [the government] insists on carrying out the regional elections on Dec. 9 as planned, it's almost certain the elections will become a horror scene," he added.

Tumpal explained that, based on World Health Organization guidelines, the government needed to meet six criteria before conducting elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"[According to the WHO,] the government needs to prove that the outbreak is already under control and that the transmission risks have been lowered. The Medan administration has not met these criteria," he said.

Tumpal argued that conducting elections amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases was an act against the law.

"What's the use of regional elections if it inflicts casualties? Don't make the elections a killing machine for Medan residents," he said.

According to Tumpal, Medan mayoral candidates took a large entourage with them upon registering for the elections at the Medan KPU office.

"Who can guarantee that there is no COVID-19 transmission [at the event]. That is our main concern at the moment," he said.

The head of the Medan General Elections Commission (KPUD), Agussyah Damanik, said he would soon coordinate with the North Sumatra KPUD and the National Elections Commission regarding the lawsuit.

"We don't have the authority to postpone the elections, we're only carrying out the law and KPU regulations on simultaneous regional elections. Only the National Elections Commission has the authority to put off the elections," he said. (nal)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/18/group-files-lawsuit-demanding-kpu-bawaslu-postpone-medan-elections-1600419724.html