News analysis

Indonesia's decision to go ahead with regional polls sparks fears of virus spreading

Ballot boxes and papers being prepared at the National Election Commission in Jakarta, for Wednesday’s polls to elect 270 governors, regents and mayors across the country.PHOTO: COURTESY OF INDONESIA’S NATIONAL ELECTION COMMISSION

SINGAPORE - Indonesian President Joko Widodo found himself trapped between a rock and a hard place when he had to decide whether to hold a regional election in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

For months, critics pressured him to delay the Sept 23 polls, known as pilkada, to elect 270 governors, regents and mayors across the country. He acceded once, pushing the date to Wednesday (Dec 9).

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