Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Indonesia's political parties are set to campaign virtually for the 2020 regional elections, which the government and the House of Representatives agreed to hold on Dec. 9 despite the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) is currently working on a revision of its regulation that allows candidates to hold rallies and concerts on the campaign trail in an effort to curb further COVID-19 transmission.
While waiting for the new regulation, parties have prepared their candidates to prioritize virtual forms of campaigning and to be disciplined in applying COVID-19 health protocols.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which is backing eight gubernatorial tickets, 214 regency tickets and 34 mayoral tickets across the country, said that it would punish party members who violated health protocols during the election process.
"Party members who violate the health protocols will face stages of sanctions," the party's secretary-general, Hasto Kristiyanto, said in a written statement on Tuesday without specifying what the sanctions would entail.
The party has also formed a COVID-19 health protocol enforcement team that will supervise party activities in the field.
"We've decided that a physical campaign is only allowed to involve a maximum of 50 people with strict implementation of the health protocols. The team will monitor every mass campaign."
The PDI-P's fellow government coalition member, the NasDem Party, has also called on its candidates to avoid physical encounters by prioritizing campaigning through mass media and social media.
Similar to the PDI-P, the party formed a task force overseeing health protocols from the central board level to the regional level.
"The NasDem Party will minimize any kind of physical encounters," NasDem secretary-general Johnny G. Plate said.
However, the party has not set specific sanctions for violations of health protocols. "We haven't decided yet but we will watch our candidates closely," he said.
The Gerindra Party also has yet to outline any sanctions. Gerindra executive Sufmi Dasco Ahmad only said that the party would adhere to the new KPU regulation.
"We hope that this regulation, which is being revised, will include fair and strict COVID-19 protocols, as well as sanctions. We will follow them," he said.