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Indonesia delays September regional elections due to virus

May 6, 2020 GMT
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People line up to wait to receive a swab test for the new coronavirus at a train station in Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
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People line up to wait to receive a swab test for the new coronavirus at a train station in Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The Indonesian government has postponed Sept. 23 regional elections until at least December because of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Joko Widodo signed a government regulation in lieu of law on Monday, and it was published late Tuesday.

The Election Commission earlier decided to postpone preparations for the elections after a number of organizers got sick with COVID-19.

”Postponing this year’s regional elections was the most viable option to avoid COVID-19 from further spreading to rural areas,” the head of the commission, Arif Budiman, said in a statement.

The elections in 270 regions across the archipelago nation will choose nine governors, 37 mayors and 224 district chiefs. At least 105 million people are eligible to vote.

Indonesia, home to nearly 270 million, has recorded a total of 12,071 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 872 fatalities as of Tuesday.