Long line at polling station as Taiwan-based Indonesians go to polls

04/14/2019 05:53 PM
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Taipei, April 14 (CNA) A long line of voters waited outside a polling station near Taipei Main Station as absentee voting kicked off Sunday, three days before Indonesia's 2019 general election.

Indonesians in Taiwan could vote for their president, vice president and members of the People's Consultative Assembly in the general election from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at 34 polling stations set up across the island.

Outside the polling station in front of an Indonesian grocery store on Beiping West Road, close to Taipei Main Station, there was a 100-meter line of voters waiting early Sunday when the polling station opened, according to a local restaurant worker.

Mariana Gultom, a staff member of the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei (IETO) in charge of the polling station, said the number of voters showing up was higher than expected.

She said a letter from IETO, dated March 10 and addressed to Taiwanese who employ Indonesian workers, helped more Indonesian employees receive a day off Sunday to vote.

Ika, a home-based caregiver from Changhua County in central Taiwan, said that although it took her more than an hour to cast her vote, she was happy to do so because she also had the chance to gather with her fellow Indonesians.

Suparniyah, who voted for the second time in Taiwan, told CNA that compared to Sunday's voting, there were fewer voters five years ago during the last presidential election because it was not scheduled for a Sunday, when Indonesian employees are usually given a day off.

Dozens of Indonesian caregivers were also seen taking their elderly charges to the polling station in their wheelchairs.

Most of those waiting to vote were women, reflecting the fact that almost 75 percent of the Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan were female as of the end of February, according to Ministry of Labor (MOL) statistics.

Aside from postal voting and voting at the 34 stations in Taiwan, IETO also set up another four polling stations at harbors in Keelung, Yilan, Pingtung and Taitung to allow Indonesian fishermen to vote, Gultom added.

According to Indonesian law, citizens who are 17 years old and above are eligible to vote, including nationals who reside overseas.

To encourage nationals living overseas to vote, the Indonesian General Election Committee has set up representative offices in 130 countries around the world so that they can vote, according to media reports.

According to the MOL, there were about 270,000 migrant workers from Indonesia in Taiwan as of the end of February 2019, making the Southeast Asian country the biggest source of migrant workers in Taiwan.

(By Chi Jo-yao)


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