REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — Calling them democracy’s heroes, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has expressed his deepest condolences over the deaths of 91 election officers, in the single-day presidential and legislative elections, on April 17, 2019. “Once again, on behalf of the country and the public, I convey my deepest condolences,” he said here, Monday evening.
Ninety-one polling station officers in 19 provinces died of exhaustion after working long hours before, during, and after polling day, the General Election Commission (KPU) said Monday. The world’s biggest and most complex single-day presidential and legislative elections were held simultaneously in the country’s 34 provinces.
Nearly 80 percent of the more than 192 million eligible voters exercised their franchise in the fourth direct presidential election and fifth parliamentary election since political reforms in 1999. The president thanked volunteers for working hard day and night while running more than 810 thousand polling stations set up throughout Indonesia and overseas.
He was grateful that the elections had been conducted successfully, he said and added that now everybody could return to their normal lives. On polling day, voters cast their ballots for the president and vice president, members of the House of Representatives (DPR), senators of the Regional Representative Councils (DPD), members of the Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD 1), and members of the District/Municipality Legislative Council (DPRD II).
Along with the country’s president, some 245,000 candidates contested for 20,000 positions. Numerous voters were confused by the complex nature of the elections along with insufficient knowledge about the candidates, apart from the president and vice president.
They were given five ballots in different colors. In Pondok Gede, Bekasi City, West Java Province, for instance, a ballot for DPD had 50 pictures of contesting senators, while ballots of DPR, DPRD I, and DPRD II, bore pictures of 20 political parties in every ballot, and each party fielded nearly 11 legislator candidates. With the polling stations closing down in the afternoon on voting day, officers had to begin counting of ballots that generally continued into the next day.