The Indonesian General Elections Commission (KPU) has finally banned mass gatherings in the country’s upcoming regional elections (Pilkada), including concerts, after briefly allowing crowd-puller events despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The prohibition is stipulated in the amended KPU Regulation (PKPU) on Pilkada during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was signed on Sept. 23. The new regulation extends for the campaign period as well, during which musical concerts, cultural activities like art performances, as well as sporting and charity events are restricted.
Various sanctions will apply for any political party, political candidate, or campaign team violating the regulations, ranging from written warnings to events being immediately dispersed by the regional Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) office.
According to the regulation, KPU still permits a number of campaign activities in the form of limited meetings, though face-to-face meetings or dialogues, public debate, and distribution of campaign materials to the public are also allowed.
KPU had initially planned to allow regional head candidates to organize concerts as part of their campaigns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which was met with strong opposition from the public. The commission said last week that it was briefly permitted due to the previous regulation, which was still in effect up until the new one was ratified.
Earlier this week, Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR), the government and election officials agreed that Pilkada will be carried out as previously planned on Dec. 9, despite rising coronavirus cases in the country.
Initially scheduled for Sept. 23, this year’s Pilkada is set to be the largest ever regional-level simultaneous elections in the country’s history, as it will simultaneously involve 270 regions across Indonesia. The campaign period will officially start on Sept. 26 and end on Dec. 5.
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