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More than 100 election workers, police die in recently concluded Indonesian polls

More than 100 election workers, police die in recently concluded Indonesian polls

This picture taken on March 18, 2019 shows an Indonesian election commission worker arranging ballot boxes in Surabaya, in preparation for the upcoming April 17 presidential and parliamentary elections. (Photo: AFP/Juni Kriswanto)

JAKARTA: A total of 119 Indonesian polling station workers and police officers have died after working during one of the world’s largest one-day elections.

More than 500 people have also fallen ill, according to a post on the General Election Commission's Facebook page on Tuesday (Apr 23). 

Indonesia had deployed more than six million workers to operate the polling booths, which numbered more than 800,000.

The General Election Commission's post - which included the hashtag #IndonesiaElectionHeroes - indicated that West Java saw the highest number of deaths at 38, followed by Central Java with 20 and East Java with 14.

Deaths were also reported Banten, Bengkulu, Kalimantan, Lampung, Papua, Riau, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Yogyakarta. 

According to online news website Detik, a 39-year-old woman is currently being treated after she miscarried while working at a polling station in the Madiun regency. She was seven months pregnant at the time.

"We are deeply saddened (by the deaths) of our Indonesia Election Heroes. Thank you for your dedication and service to uphold democracy in Indonesia," the post read. 

Bloomberg reported that the death toll had increased to 139 on Wednesday and that the workers had died from exhaustion. 

READ: By the numbers - Indonesia's national elections

The elections on Apr 17 saw an estimated 81 per cent of the 193 million eligible voters cast their vote, Bloomberg reported.

While counting is still in progress, unofficial results from private pollsters point to a comfortable win for current Indonesian President Joko Widodo, over his rival former general Prabowo Subianto.

Widodo on Tuesday took to social media to express his condolences for the deaths. 

"My deepest condolences over the deaths of poll station committee workers and policemen throughout the election period. They are democracy fighters. May God accept their good deeds so that their efforts may be a blessing to Indonesia," he wrote. 

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has also announced that the ministry is arranging compensation for the workers who died. 

"The finance ministry has received proposals for the compensation of workers who died on duty. I will look at the magnitude of needs and see how these can be served according to the rules and regulations," the election commission cited her as saying.

Source: CNA/hs(aj)

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