Between budget for handling Covid-19 and 2020 simultaneous regional elections

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Indonesia Regional Election

Election organizers and regional administrations have requested extra funds from the state budget (APBN) for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections (Pilkada) as the central government insists on holding year-end regional polls amid the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The House of Representatives (DPR) Commission II of the Indonesian House of Representatives and the Government approved the additional budget proposal submitted by the election organizer, namely General Elections Commission (KPU), Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu),  and Election Organization Ethics Council (DKPP). The additional budget is needed to guarantee the simultaneous elections of 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision was the result of a meeting of Commission II of the Indonesian House of Representatives together with the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Finance, the KPU RI, the Indonesian Election Supervisory Body, the Indonesian Republic of Indonesia Council. The meeting also involved the Head of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) / Head of the Task Force for the Acceleration of Handling COVID-19.

In the meeting, it was decided that an additional KPU budgetary requirement of Rp 4.7 trillion would be made in three stages. The first phase was Rp1.02 trillion, the second phase was Rp3.29 trillion, and the third phase was Rp0.46 trillion. Meanwhile, Bawaslu amounted to Rp478.9 billion and DKPP Rp39.05 billion.

The budget is sourced from the state budget (APBN) by taking into account the ability of the regional budget (APBD) of each region. On the other hand, a number of regional governments claimed to have been underfunded due to an unexpected additional budget due to many of their citizens being exposed to the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani has just committed to being ready to realize the first phase of the additional budget of only Rp1.2 trillion from the state budget.

Meanwhile, the remaining unmet budget needs will be decided after budget reconciliation between the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, KPU, Bawaslu, DKPP, and Covid-19 Task Force, no later than June 17, 2020.

Member of DPR Commission II, Wahyu Sanjaya reminded the government not to neglect the Perppu that was “already” issued.

“If the regional elections was not held on December 9th, the elections funding problems would have been resolved from the start. It means, there are no additional funds, “Wahyu said.

“If the funds are not available, I suggest that the Perppu be replaced, set back in six months,” he said.

Previously, President Jokowi has issued Government Regulation in lieu of Law (Perppu) No. 2 of 2020 related to the holding of regional elections (Pilkada) which was agreed to be held on December 9, 2020.

In the Perppu issued on 5 May, it was arranged that if the vote could not be held in December, the implementation was rescheduled after the non-natural Covid-19 disaster ended. That is, there is an uncertainty when the implementation time applies.

The rule has caused widespread discussion by various groups. Because the Covid-19 outbreak that is still developing in Indonesia is still difficult to predict when it ends.

Regarding the budget, of course, it has its own problems, considering that this election is in the midst of the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. Not only did the epidemic plague make public movements limited, but the government also experienced budgetary difficulties. In fact, there are 270 local elections throughout Indonesia with different challenges and budgets in each region.

President Joko Widodo said the government had allocated Rp 677.2 trillion to accelerate the handling of Covid-19 and the National Economic Recovery.

Jokowi said, the budget is very large, so it requires good governance with simple procedures that are not complicated.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Tito Karnavian said, the use of the Covid-19 disaster budget through the state budget and the regional budget requires good supervision.

He also reminded regional heads to make use of the Covid-19 disaster budget appropriately.

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