Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The National COVID-19 task force has urged the election organizers to prohibit direct campaign rallies in the upcoming simultaneous regional elections and turn to online or broadcasted campaigns instead to curb the coronavirus transmission during the elections slated to take place on Dec. 9.
Taskforce chief Doni Monardo said the hardest task during the elections was to prevent crowds.
[Regional elections] are a celebration of democracy that brings people together. The KPU [General Elections Commission] has limited rallies to a maximum of 100 people, but some candidates have violated this," he said on Tuesday during a hearing with House of Representatives Commission VIII, which oversees social affairs.
"Some of our recommendations to reduce crowds are making the candidates campaign virtually and utilize public television broadcaster TVRI and radio RRI."
In addition to banning campaign rallies, the task force would also recommend voters to use gloves and hand sanitizer on voting day and limit the number of people allowed at each polling station as well as the voting time.
Doni, who is also the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said the task force would finalize its recommendations and present them to Home Minister Tito Karnavian and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD.
He added that the public should be wise in selecting regional candidates by also looking at their compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols, noting the need for unity to protect each other as the pandemic had shown no signs of ending anytime soon.
"There's not an inch of land that is safe in a country where people are still exposed to COVID-19. This ping-pong pattern will occur when there are areas [with infected people]. There's no territorial boundary for COVID-19. It will definitely spread if we can't guard ourselves," he said.
The Home Ministry and election organizers on Monday agreed to revise a KPU regulation that allows candidates to hold rallies and concerts during the campaign trail, as it is deemed counterproductive to the country's efforts to curb COVID-19 transmission. The KPU said it would also increase the number of voting booths and polling stations for December's regional elections.