About 300 Indonesian vote counting workers die due to overwork

Fatigue-related illnesses caused death of at least 270 Indonesian election staff who were stressed to work long hours for the counting of millions of ballot papers manually.

Indonesia, having population of 260 million, went into elections on April 17 and about 7 million people were put at work in the counting of the ballot papers by hand.

The country has 183 million eligible voters and 80 percent of them voted in more than 800,000 polling booths.

According to General Elections Commission (KPU) spokesman Arief Priyo Susanto 1,878 workers have fallen ill too in the process of counting.

To save money the country, for the first time, had combined presidential election with national and regional parliamentary ballots.

It is learned the work environments were in sweltering conditions and workers were even expected to work through the night. Most of them were temporary election staff and had not undergone medical examination before starting work.

According to KPU spokesman the total number of workers who died due to overwork-related illnesses stands at 272.

The election commission has announced to compensate the families members of deceased worker with $2,500, which is about one year pay at minimum wage in the country.

Counting of ballot papers is expected to be completed by May 22 but meanwhile both President Joki Widodo and opposition presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto have declared victory.

Paul Linus