More than 270 election workers in Indonesia have died, mostly of fatigue-related illnesses

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More than 270 election workers in Indonesia have died, mostly of fatigue-related illnesses caused by long hours of work counting millions of ballot papers by hand, 1878 other staff had fallen ill.

The April 17 elections were the first time the country of 260 million people combined the presidential vote with national and regional parliamentary polls, with the aim of cutting costs. Voting was largely peaceful and was estimated to have drawn 80 per cent of the total 193 million voters, who each had to punch up to five ballot papers at one of more than 800,000 polling stations. The KPU spokesman said 272 election workers had died from overwork-related illnesses. Indonesia’s election commission plans to compensate surviving families 36 million rupiah (£1,930; $2,500) for every deceased worker – roughly equivalent to one year’s pay at minimum wage.

Health Ministry issued a circular letter on April 23 urging health facilities to care for sick election staff, and the Finance Ministry is working on compensation for families of those who had died. Both candidates have declared victory, though quick counts suggested Widodo won the election by around 9-10 percentage points. The KPU will conclude vote counting and announce winners of the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 22.

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