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270 Polling Staffs Die Counting Votes in Indonesia

Arief Priyo Susanto, spokesman of the General Elections Commission of Indonesia also known as KPU has said, “so far 272 election officials had died, mostly because of over work related illnesses, while other 1,878 officials had fallen ill”.

270 Polling Staffs Die Counting Votes in Indonesia

Indonesia conducted world’s biggest single-day election recently and in the past 10 days, while counting the number of votes, the country has lost more than 270 polling staffs, mainly because of the fatigue-related illnesses caused by long hours of work counting millions of paper ballots by hand.

On April 17, Indonesia conducted world’s first single day election with an aim to cut costs thereby deciding the fate of the country with 260 million populations by voting the next President of the country and other members of the cabinet from national and regional seats.

The election was peaceful and has successfully drawn an estimated 80 percent votes from the total 193 million voters. Each voter had to punch up to five ballot papers in more than 800,000 polling stations.

Conducting the eight-hour vote in a country that stretches more than 5,000 km was not an easy task as it was corroborated with herculean logistical feat, which proved deadly for the government officials, who also are counting ballot papers manually.

Arief Priyo Susanto, spokesman of the General Elections Commission of Indonesia also known as KPU has said, “so far 272 election officials had died, mostly because of over work related illnesses, while other 1,878 officials had fallen ill”.

The country’s health ministry has issued an emergency circular on April 23 urging all the health facilities to give maximum care for the sick election staffs, while the Finance Ministry is working on compensations for the families of the deceased.

The KPU also has come under attack from various quarters because of the rising death toll. Ahmad Muzani, campaign manager of the Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said, “The KPU is not prudent in managing the workload of staff”.

According to some prominent election experts, Prabowo is going to lose the 2019 election because of quick counts. Prabowo has also alleged widespread cheating and his supporters claimed some officials punched ballots in favour of incumbent President Joko Widodo. Though Widodo’s security minister has rebutted the allegations and said they were baseless.

Both the Presidential candidates, Prabowo and Widodo are claiming to come out victorious, the vote counts so far suggest Widodo is winning the election by around 9-10 percentage points.

The election commission is going to conclude vote counting and announce winners of the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 22 but is now counting the number of deaths that occurred because of the hasty political affairs.


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