The Foundation participates in a conference on “Election in the time of Pandemic – Protecting the Quality of Democracy”

Topics discussed include the issues of fraud prevention and anti-corruption with regard to elections during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Daniel Heilmann, Head of Projects at the Max Planck Foundation was invited by the Coordinating Ministry of Politics, Law and Security of the Republic of Indonesia, the Corruption Eradication Commission and the Faculty of Law of Andalas University/West Sumatra to participate in an online-conference on local elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference focused on limitations to fundamental rights, anti-corruption and fraud prevention in the light of widespread restrictions during the pandemic. The online conference was well attended by more than 500 participants from all over the world. It was opened by HE Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Policy, Law and Security of the Republic of Indonesia, who stressed the importance of fair, transparent and efficient elections.

Dr Heilmann gave a presentation on the German response to COVID-19 stressing the German government’s obligation to protect against dangers for life and health, which flows from the right to life and physical integrity guaranteed under article 2(2) Basic Law. The presentation concluded by highlighting that temporary restrictions of fundamental rights were generally warranted under the existing legislation. However, the rulings on interim measures of the German Federal Constitutional Court have clarified the legal situation and emphasised that a blanket suspension of rights is not permissible.

The Constitutional Court affirmed that strict measures to contain the pandemic and protect health systems were necessary, however, it must be taken into account that the effects – even if strictly time-limited – are severe. He explained that local authorities, therefore, have to make contextualised assessments, ensuring a minimum level of protection of fundamental rights in areas that are particularly sensitive. These findings are also relevant, and can be applied, in a broader context, for example regarding democratic and transparent elections.

The Foundation will continue to consult with Indonesian counterparts from the academic and governments sectors regarding rule of law and good governance issues.