Purwokerto, C Java (ANTARA) - The Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) warned participants of the 2020 simultaneous regional head elections (pilkada) to apply health protocols to safeguard against COVID-19 transmission, as the agency had detected several violations during campaign activities.

Abhan, the Bawaslu chairman, stated here on Monday that the violations included a crowd of over 50 people, breaching social distancing norms, and not wearing face marks.

The heaviest sanctions for violating the protocols were dissolving campaign activities or cutting short the campaign schedule though no disqualification, he remarked.

Abhan clarified that in accordance with the existing Pilkada Law, the violators of health protocols will not be disqualified from the election race.

Clearing the air over the likelihood of delaying the implementation of this year's pilkada in the wake of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, Abhan noted that the General Election Commission (KPU), Bawaslu, government, and Parliament were determined to hold the elections on December 9, 2020.

Abhan explained that the Task Force for COVID-19 Response, formed by the government, was tasked with preventing the spread of COVID-19 rather than Bawaslu.

"The government has also declared a non-natural disaster emergency condition. The law (Pilkada Law) has stated (sanctions) do not include a disqualification. We could only stop the campaign activities and reduce the campaign period. Other laws carrying criminal sanctions under the police authorities, include the Quarantine Law and pandemic law," he remarked.

Speaking in connection with the data on COVID-19 cases in the regions holding local elections, Abhan noted that his office had always referred to the data issued by the COVID-19 Task Force.

"Based on the latest revelation by the COVID-19 Task Force yesterday, the number of COVID-19 cases tended to decrease in regions holding pilkada," he stated.

However, Abhan has appealed to election organizers and the public to remain compliant and adherent to the health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Bawaslu chairman noted that in this case, the Indonesian KPU had been implementing health protocols at every stage of the elections, right from the campaigning period to the time of voting.

In fact, the KPU had also issued the General Election Commission Regulation (PKPU) that regulates the implementation of regional elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he stated.

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Translator: Sumarwoto, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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