A high-ranking lawmaker in Indonesia has called for a parliamentary inquiry after more than 500 officials died of work-related exhaustion during the elections last month.
About 7 million people were working during the April polls which saw Indonesia vote in the combined presidential and parliamentary elections. Official statistics indicate that 80% of the 193 million eligible voters had taken part in the democratic process, The Straits Times reported.
Indonesia’s election commission (KPU) pointed out that 456 electoral staff had died and 4,310 of them had fallen ill due to the immense workload. A total of 91 members of the election supervisory body, as well as 22 police officers, also died.
Fahri Hamzah, the deputy speaker of the Indonesian Parliament, said cases like this have never been seen in any other democracy in the world and urged the formation of an investigation team. KPU spokesperson Arief Priyo Susanto said compensation of about 36 million rupiah (US$2,511) had been given to the families and relatives of the deceased.
Statistics also showed that most of the deaths involved staff over 50 years old. They had suffered heart attacks, strokes and respiratory failure before exhaustion piled on their ailments and took their lives.
Pramono Ubaid Tantowi, an election commissioner, said authorities can look for options to separate local and national elections. In addition, some have also advised using electronic voting to minimize staff workload.