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50 cities, regencies 'highly vulnerable' to virus-related election disruption: Bawaslu

Jakarta Post - September 23, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Nine provinces and 50 cities and regencies that plan to hold simultaneous local elections in December are highly vulnerable to COVID-19-related disruptions, the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) said on Tuesday.

The current number, reported in the Elections Vulnerability Index released by Bawaslu on Tuesday, was almost double that of the last survey in June 2020, which stated that 26 cities and regencies were "highly vulnerable" to pandemic-related election disruption.

The index is based on several variables, including the number of election administrators who have caught COVID-19 and those who have died of it, the number of election organizers who have resigned as a result of the outbreak, changes in the number of cases and deaths and the level of public rejection of the elections as a result of the outbreak.

"In addition to urging candidates to comply with COVID-19 health protocols, Bawaslu also recommends that each region provide more information about the pandemic," Bawaslu commissioner M. Afifuddin said at the launch of the index.

According to the index, the 10 areas with the greatest vulnerability to pandemic-related election disruption are Depok, West Java; East Kotawaringin regency in Central Kalimantan; Bukittinggi city and Agam regency in West Sumatra; Manado, North Sulawesi; Bandung regency, West Java; Sintang district, West Kalimantan; West Sumbawa regency in West Nusa Tenggara; Bone Bolango regency in Gorontalo; and Bandar Lampung city in Lampung province.

At the provincial level, Central Kalimantan, West Sumatra and North Sulawesi are the three most vulnerable, followed by Central Sulawesi, Bengkulu, South Kalimantan, Riau Islands, Jambi and North Kalimantan.

"Central Kalimantan, West Sumatra and North Sulawesi score above 90 out of the maximum vulnerability score of 100," Afifuddin said.

The agency said it would pay extra attention to COVID-19 health protocol enforcement, having noted 243 violations of health protocols during the 2020 regional elections' registration phase from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6.

Bawaslu head Abhan said the agency had coordinated with the military and the police to guard certain places, such as candidates' campaign headquarters and political party headquarters, to prevent crowds during the candidate and candidacy number announcement on Sept. 23.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/22/50-cities-regencies-highly-vulnerable-to-virus-related-election-disruption-bawaslu.html