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Indonesian Officials Crackdown on Child Political Campaigners

The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) says it has found that nearly a dozen political parties violated campaign rules by involving children during the first day of legislative campaigning Sunday.

According to KPAI's campaign monitoring team, most of the public complaints have been directed at the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

KPAI chairman Asrorun Ni'am said this finding would be coordinated with the Election Supervisory Body for further action.

"Anyone who abuses children for political activities is liable to face up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to [$50,000]," he said.

But PKS member Zulhermansyah defends his party, saying it has not involved children as campaign participants.

“The reason parents bring their children to campaigns is because they don’t have a sitter to take care of them," he said. "It’s difficult to let them stay at home. It’s not like the old days where there are riots in the campaigns."

Indonesian parliamentary elections are scheduled for April 9. The presidential election will follow three months later on July 9.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.)