Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Chairman Azis Syamsuddin voiced his support to a sanction to reduce campaign period for candidates violating COVID-19 health protocols during implementation of the 2020 simultaneous regional head elections (Pilkada).

The lawmaker noted in a statement here on Thursday that this sanction can exact a greater sense of discipline among regional head candidates to adhere to the set health protocols.

"I support the imposition of tougher and stricter sanctions on Pilkada candidates, who violate health protocols during stages of the Pilkada. Golkar is ready to disqualify its candidates according to their mistakes and the existing rules and internal party mechanisms," Syamsuddin remarked.

The DPR deputy chairman emphasized that the 2020 Pilkada should not become a dark historical record for the Indonesian nation in carrying out a fiesta of democracy.

"Hopefully, each party would harbor the same commitment during the 2020 simultaneous regional head elections in order to meet the public's aspirations. This is necessary to ensure that the 2020 simultaneous Pilkada runs freely and secretly as well as is safe, honest, and fair," he remarked.

In Regulation of General Election Commission (PKPU) Number 13 of 2020 on second amendment to PKPU Number 6 of 2020 concerning the implementation of Pilkada during the non-natural disaster of COVID-19, it is stated in Article 57 that the Pilkada campaign can be conducted through a limited meeting method; face-to-face meetings and dialog; public debate or open debate between pairs of candidates; and distribution of campaign materials to the public.

Article 88D regulates sanctions for violators of the COVID-19 health protocols in the 2020 Pilkada.

Despite suggestions from several parties, including Indonesia's two largest Muslim organizations, NU and Muhammadiyah, that this year's Pilkada should be postponed again owing to a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country, the Government, General Elections Commission (KPU), Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), and DPR are determined to proceed as scheduled on December 9, 2020.

The DPR agreed on the implementation of Pilkada this year, albeit with two conditions: public safety should be prioritized and democracy should not be reduced to an empty word, which means every democratic principle should be applied during the election stages. Related news: SEPAHAM Indonesia presses for postponement of regional head elections
Related news: NU calls for postponement of regional head elections owing to COVID-19

Translator: Imam Budilaksono, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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