Mali launches 2nd round of legislative elections amid security and health challenges

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 19, 2020
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BAMAKO, April 19 (Xinhua) -- The second round of legislative elections kicked off this Sunday at 8 a.m. GMT for Malian voters to choose the remaining 125 of the 147 deputies for Mali's National Assembly.

During the first round organized on March 29, only 22 deputies were elected, including 5 women, with a high rate of abstention due both to security problems in the north and center of the country and the spread of COVID-19.

In Mali's capital city Bamako, the majority of the polling stations opened on time. "We started on time because all the arrangements have been made for it," a polling station manager at the Aminata Diop Center in Lafiabougou told Xinhua.

"Even if it is not obvious that there will be a high turnout, I preferred to vote early to avoid the heat and especially the crowd for fear of COVID-19," said Sibiri Coulibaly, adding that he voted "in less than 10 minutes".

For another young Malian, she preferred to accompany her husband "who has always voted at first hours. With the threat of the coronavirus, we must avoid gatherings".

The election is taking place in a particular context marked by security problems and especially by the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The campaign for the second round was barely taking place three weeks after the first round. The country registered 216 positive cases of COVID-19 as of April 18.

The government urged voters to strictly respect barrier gestures. In the centers visited, the security forces scrupulously ensured that people washed their hands and distributed masks at the entrance.

At the polling station, an election officer also ensured that the voter used an alcoholic solution to sanitize the hands before voting. All the agents working in the polling stations wear masks to protect themselves.

According to the Malian Ministry of Territorial Administration, the participation rate in the first round of the legislative elections organized on March 29, 2020 in Mali was only 35.73 percent, and 797 of the 22,147 polling stations could not be opened for various reasons.

According to the Constitutional Court of Mali, 1,447 candidates are running for the 147 seats of the National Assembly, including 426 women. Only 22 deputies were elected in the first round.

As for the first round, the polling stations will be closed at 6:00 p.m. GMT for some 7,663,464 registered voters. Enditem

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