Jokowi calls for prioritising voter safety in December regional elections amid Covid-19 pandemic

INDONESIAN PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO.
INDONESIAN PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO.

JAKARTA • Indonesian President Joko Widodo is urging all parties to prioritise the health and safety of voters and polling station officers in the upcoming 2020 regional elections in December amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, expressed concerns that the elections would spawn new clusters of the coronavirus disease, as people would gather in polling stations on voting day.

"Health protocols should be implemented in every stage of the regional elections. We should have elections that are safe from Covid-19,"he said on Wednesday.

Mr Joko added that he was optimistic the country could hold elections amid the pandemic just like other countries, such as Singapore, Germany, France and South Korea.

"The most important thing is to assure voters that the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the government are concerned about their health." The strict health protocols, he added, would be enough to help voters feel safe on voting day on Dec 9, eventually leading to a high voter turnout.

Mr Joko also said that the upcoming regional elections could be the perfect opportunity for innovation.

But surveys indicate that most Indonesians, citing Covid-19 concerns, disagree with the government's decision to hold the regional elections in December.

Some experts and activists are concerned about a low voter turnout, with the risk of contracting Covid-19 at polling stations potentially discouraging voters from participating in the elections.

The simultaneous elections, scheduled on Dec 9, seek to elect 270 leaders comprising nine governors, 224 regents and 37 majors across the archipelago.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SAFETY FIRST

Health protocols should be implemented in every stage of the regional elections. We should have elections that are safe from Covid-19.

INDONESIAN PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO, who urged all parties to prioritise the health and safety of voters and polling station officers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2020, with the headline 'Jokowi calls for prioritising voter safety in Dec regional elections'. Print Edition | Subscribe