JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia is pushing ahead with regional elections between September and December this year despite the challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU).
“If any candidate tested positive for Covid-19 [during the regional elections], it will not annul their standing in the race. However, they would have to undergo self-isolation or be under tight health protocols until they are cured,” said KPU chairman Arief Budiman.
“The election’s regulations have determined the possible circumstances that the regional candidates may encounter" as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. "These include the possibility of death [from Covid-19] during or after voting day, or before they are sworn in after winning the elections.”
However, Arief assured that precautions have been put in place to prevent the likelihood of the nominees falling ill from the coronavirus on the campaign trail.
“Candidates for the regional elections are required to participate in swab tests, as recommended by the Indonesian Doctors Association [IDI].”
“The procedure is also part of the KPU’s commitment to ensure that the candidates are free of Covid-19 before they register to participate in the regional elections,” he added.
Nonetheless, the KPU is aware of how Covid-19 looms over the public’s psyche before the elections.
“Candidates usually use T-shirts and hats as campaign props during elections,” said Arief.
“But this year, the KPU will allow candidates to put their likeness and name on items like masks, hand sanitizers and face shields as election merchandise based on suggestions from the Home Ministry and the House Commission II [on Home Affairs].”