Regional Elections and the problem of synchronizing Government agencies

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Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, when met by the Independent Observer team in his office, Parliamentary Complex, Senayan, Central Jakarta (05/06/2020). (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – Despite the insistence of many to delay Regional Elections from 2020 to a subsequent year, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Elections Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”), and Committee II of the House (DPR) have jointly decided to hold Simultaneous Regional Elections on 9 December 2020. Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian stated that nobody can guarantee that the COVID-19 pandemic will have ended by 2021, to allow for the Simultaneous Regional Elections. Furthermore, countries such as South Korea and France are continuing their democratic processes according to schedule.

This view is similar to that of the Deputy Speaker of DPR RI, Sufmi Dasco, when Independent Observer met him last Friday (05/06/2020). According to him, Simultaneous Elections must still be held, even though the State has lost a large part of its budget to mitigate the Corona virus pandemic. “Under the circumstances, we don’t know when the pandemic will end. Even WHO says that it will take a long time. As for the fact that our budget is drained to hold Regional Elections in December 2020, I say that holding the Elections in upcoming years will make no difference. In fact, the Budget might be reduced even further. How come? Because of the impact of the current economic condition. Therefore, I believe that we should hold the Elections, with social distancing according to protocols,” he said. 

Dasco further stated that the decision to hold the Simultaneous Regional Elections was made after a lot of consideration, one being a possible power vacuum that would influence Government performance in all regions. “This is also done in order to prevent a vacuum, which must be filled with the issuance of interim regulations etc. This will cause a lot of problems with the current pandemic, as Regional Heads are members of the COVID-19 Mitigation Task Force,” he said. 

Post-COVID Economic Recovery 

Dasco also stated that the process of reviving the national economy will involve synergy between all components, including the Government, DPR, and community organizations. “It’s not possible to leave national economic recovery up to the Government and DPR. Everybody must be involved – after all, it’s national economic recovery. If we involve everyone, I believe we can recover,” he said. 

Dasco added that the new normal requires care and synchronizing between agencies and economic sectors. This is not something that can be achieved in a hurry. DPR has visited many places in order to prepare for the new normal. “We visit all sectors in order to synchronize. 

For example, we need to determine which Government agencies will set out most of the policies during the new normal era. We visited all affected parties – businesses and workers, so we can synchronize in assisting them,” he said. “We have to make sure that official standards and rulings do not overlap and cause confusion in the implementation. (nhn)