Jakarta (ANTARA) - Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet), Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) chairman, cautioned that holding the 2020 simultaneous regional head elections (Pilkada) should not lead to new clusters of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement here on Monday, Bamsoet called on regional governments to remain stringent in applying health protocols since preparations for the 2020 Pilkada were underway in the midst of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

"Concerns are rife in the wake of preparations for the 2020 simultaneous regional head elections since several COVID-19 cases were detected during the series of implementation activities. On Saturday (Sept 5), no less than 69 officers of the election supervisory office (Bawaslu) of Boyolali had reportedly tested positive for COVID-19," Bamsoet remarked.

In fact, several prospective candidate pairs in various regions were reportedly infected with COVID-19.

Bamsoet further pointed to the increasing number of violations of health protocols during the registration events of the candidates owing to them congregating and ignoring health protocols.

The MPR chairman emphasized that in the event of violations of health protocols, the Regional General Election Commissions (KPUD) and Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) should seek assistance from civil servants designated as legal enforcement officers to maintain order.

"This includes getting help from personnel of the TNI (Indonesian Defense Forces) and Polri (Indonesian Police) assigned to enforce health protocols in public spaces," he stated.

Bamsoet projected no other violations against health protocols during the planned local election campaign to be held for 71 days, from September 26 to December 5, 2020.

Hence, he urged candidates to properly manage their supporting masses and to adhere to health protocols.

"In addition, the KPUD and Bawaslu must have the pluck to limit the number of people in any activity related to preparations for the regional head elections," he stated.

The regional head elections, scheduled to be organized in 270 regions across Indonesia, would be rampant to trigger new clusters of COVID-19 if the health protocols were violated, he noted.

Bamsoet cautioned that if these steps were not followed diligently, the election activities could, in fact, trigger a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in all electoral districts. Related news: Prepare for safe simultaneous regional elections amid COVID-19: Jokowi
Related news: Bawaslu, Ministry ink agreement on health safety during pilkada

Translator: Imam B, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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