Indonesia: Over 270 dead from overwork related illnesses in elections
Indonesia held the biggest ever single-day elections in the country ten days before and has registered the death of 270 election staff caused by diseases related to fatigue due to long working hours spent in the counting of millions of ballot papers by hand. It was for the first time in the country of over 260 million people on April 17 that the Presidential vote combined with national and regional parliamentary ones with the aim of cost-cutting. The whole voting process was very peaceful on the whole and it saw the participation of around 80 per cent of a total of 193 million voters, each of whom had to punch their votes in around five ballot papers in more than 80,000 polling stations. The conduction of the entire eight-hour vote in the country which stretches over 5000 km from the western tip to its eastern tip proves to be a great task and deadly for the officials who had to manually count the ballot papers. As per the figures of Saturday night, nearly 272 election officials had died from the illnesses which emanate from overwork. As per the reports, 1878 had fallen ill.
A critical letter has been issued by the health ministry on April 23 appealing the health authorities to give proper care for the election staff who has fallen sick. The Finance Ministry is working to give compensation to the families of the dead officials. The rising death toll has brought the KPO under fire. The deputy chairman of the opposition presidential candidate’s campaign, Prabowo Subianto said, “The KPU is not prudent in managing the workload of staff”.
Prabowo who is said had lost the 2019 polls as per the quick counts has accused that there has been widespread cheating and his campaign also said that some officials had punched ballots favouring President Joko Widodo. The security minister said that the allegations were completely baseless. Both candidates have however declared victory as per the quick counts. It is being said that the election had been won by Widodo by about 9-10 percentage points.
The counting of the votes will be concluded and the winners of the presidential and parliamentary elections will be done on May 22.