Parliament and Government agree to postpone 2020 Elections

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The Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian instructed his staff to coordinate with relevant ministries to draw up a government regulation to replace the law related to the postponement of the simultaneous regional elections in 2020. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

 IO, Jakarta – After only postponing several stages of the simultaneous local elections in 2020, the Parliamentary Committee II and the government, represented by the Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, finally agreed to postpone the holding of local elections planned across 270 regions in Indonesia, covering 9 provinces, 224 districts and 37 cities. The delay was inevitable, in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. “One of the points is to delay the stages of the 2020 elections which resulted in the postponement of the voting and other stages,” explained Deputy Chairman of Committee II Saan Mustopa. Present at the Committee II working meeting was Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, Chairperson of the General Election Commission (KPU) Arief Budiman, Chair of Election Supervisory Body (BAWASLU) and Acting Chairperson of the General Election Organizer Honorary Council (DKPP) Muhammad, in the Parliament building, Senayan, Jakarta, Monday (03/30/2020). 

Following up on this decision, Parliament asked the government to immediately issue Government Regulation (PERPPU) instead of passing a Law, because it is not possible if Parliament and the government have to revise the Election Law in the current emergency environment. According to him, the instrument to postpone it will be discussed through the PERPPU. It is impossible to revise the Election Law in a situation like this. Saan said the rescheduling of the time of the Regional Election will be discussed again by Committrr II together with the Minister of Home Affairs and KPU if the situation is resolved. “It will be discussed again at the appropriate time with Parliamentary Committee II, together with the Minister of Home Affairs and the KPU,” said the NasDem Party politician. 

Issuance of PERPPU 

Related to the preparation of the PERPPU, the Minister of Home Affairs instructed his staff to coordinate with relevant ministries to draw up a government regulation to replace the law related to the postponement of the simultaneous regional elections in 2020. “Related to the postponement of the elections, we immediately coordinate, especially with the State Secretariat, to start drafting the 2020 PERPPU on Regional Elections as a change to Law 10/2016 governing the 2020 elections,” Tito explained in a written statement, Tuesday (03/31/2020). 

According to Tito, everybody understood that in the COVID-19 pandemic currently extending itself, the KPU could not carry out the stages of the elections. “All of this is certain to collide with COVID-19’s prevention protocol on physical distancing and other social restrictions,” said Tito. 

Meanwhile, because of the cancellation of the 2020 elections, the KPU will reallocate the election budget to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. “The hearing also agreed that the unused budget needs to be reallocated by respective regional governments to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said KPU Commissioner Pramono Ubaid Tanthowi. Pramono stressed that the reallocation was carried out on the unused budget. The reason is, the stages of the 2020 elections have been running for the past few months. The total regional budget in 270 regions reached IDR 9.9 trillion. “All agreed that the handling of a pandemic must take precedence over political contestation,” Pramono said. 

No Need for polemics 

Responding to the decision by Parliament and the government to postpone the 2020 elections, the PDIP Party fully supports it. “It has been decided yesterday: the decision is to be implemented. There is no need to discuss and carry out polemics anymore,” said PDIP politician Andreas Hugo Pareira. 

According to him, PDIP did not see it as a loss for participants in the elections and the party, even though they had been preparing for it all this time. He said all political parties are suffering the same fate amid the current outbreak of the Corona pandemic. “This is a special situation: candidates, all political parties are in the same situation,” he said. 

Andreas, who is also a member of Parliament’s Committee X, stressed that the country is currently focusing on dealing with COVID-19. Thus, other activities, as well as 2020 elections, must be set aside. “We are talking about focusing on COVID-19, other agendas come later,” he concluded. In the Committee II meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs, KPU, Bawaslu, and DKPP, there were 4 points agreed upon. 

First, considering the development of the COVID-19 pandemic which has yet to be controlled and for the sake of promoting public safety, the Parliamentary Committee II approved the postponement of the 2020 Simultaneous Regional Election, which has not yet been completed and cannot be implemented. 

Second, the implementation of the follow-up elections will be carried out with mutual agreement between the KPU, the government, and the Parliament. 

Third, with the postponement of the implementation of the 2020 Simultaneous Local Elections, the Parliamentary Committee II asks the government to prepare a new legal umbrella in the form of a government regulation to replace the law (PERPPU). 

Fourth, with the postponement of the implementation of the 2020 Simultaneous Regional Elections, Parliamentary Committee II asked the regional heads who will implement the 2020 Simultaneous Local Elections to reallocate the 2020 Elections funds for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. (dan)