More than 270 election workers in Indonesia have died, most of them of fatigue-related illnesses caused by long hours spent counting millions of ballot papers by hand, BBC reported on Sunday. Arief Priyo Susanto, the spokesperson of the General Elections Commission, or the KPU, said 1,878 employees had fallen ill.
The poll body had employed close to seven million people to count and monitor the world’s biggest single-day elections. The polls were the first time the country of 260 million people combined the presidential vote with national and regional parliamentary elections in order to save money.
Voting was largely peaceful as 80% of the country’s 193 million voters exercised their franchise, Reuters reported. Voters in over 8,00,000 polling stations had to punch up to five ballot papers. However, an official who worked for Opposition presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto blamed the elections commission for failing to manage the workload of its staff.
Prabowo, according to independent pollsters doing a quick count, has lost the elections to Joko Widodo. The Opposition candidate has alleged widespread cheating and his campaign has claimed some officials even punched ballots in Widodo’s favour. Indonesia’s security minister has called the allegations baseless.
The election body will conclude vote counting and announce winners of the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 22.