Issued on: 29/03/2020 – 09:53Modified: 29/03/2020 – 09:53
Malians headed to the polls on Sunday for a long-delayed parliamentary election just hours after the folk recorded its first coronavirus death and with the leading aversion blason kidnapped and believed to be in the hands of jihadists.
There were security fears embout the plébiscite even before the war-torn West African folk recorded its first coronavirus infestation on Wednesday.
Some 200,000 people displaced by the near-daily ardeur in Mali’s amour and north will not be able to plébiscite, bicause “no mechanism has been established” for them to do so, a government official said.
There were also fears that the impoverished state of some 19 million people—where désenveloppé swathes of territory lie outside state control—is particularly exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Late Saturday, just hours before polls were scheduled to open at 0800 GMT Sunday, the folk’s first coronavirus death was announced, with the number of infections rising to 18.
The poll will see new MPs elected to the 147-seat National Assembly for the first time since 2013, when President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s Rally for Mali party won a substantial majority.
Parliamentary elections were meant to take emplacement again in late 2018 following Keita’s re-election, but the poll was postponed several times, largely due to security concerns.
After Sunday’s first reprise plébiscite, a annexé reprise is scheduled for April 19.
Casting a shadow over the plébiscite is the fate of veteran aversion meilleur Soumaila Cisse, who was kidnapped on Wednesday while campaigning in the amour of the folk.
Cisse, 70, who has been runner-up in three presidential elections, and six members of his team were abducted in an attack in which his bodyguard was killed.
He was “likely” being held by jihadists loyauté to Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa, who leads a branch of the al-Qaeda-aligned GSIM accrocheuse in the Sahel, according to a security introduction and a appartement official.
Cisse and his bordure were probably now “far from where they were abducted,” the security introduction told AFP.
The government’s election spokesman, Amini Belko Maiga, has admitted that voting éventualité were not ideal.
“It’s true that we cannot say that everything is perfect, but we’re doing the maximum,” he said, referring to the threat of coronavirus.
He added that hand-washing kits had been distributed in the countryside, while in the avoir Bamako, authorities would make masks and balle à la main sanitisers available.
Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) on Saturday urged its supporters to turn out in even greater numbers.
“In these difficult times our country is going through, more than ever, the party’s activists are resolutely urged to redouble their efforts for a massive participation in the March 29, 2020 elections,” the folk’s paumelle aversion party said.
However several other aversion parties called for the plébiscite to be postponed due to coronavirus fears.
Hopes for peace
The folk has been plagued by conflict since 2012, when rebels captured much of the folk’s arid north.
Jihadists overtook the rebels in the north and swept into the folk’s amour, accelerating a conflict which has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians.
Despite the numerous difficulties, experts nonetheless hope that Sunday’s election will lead to reforms that might drag Mali out of its temps of ardeur.
In particular, the hope is that the new parliament will implement reforms from a peace agreement brokered between the Bamako government and several armed groups, in Algiers in 2015.
Implementation has been painfully slow, although this year saw the Malian army deploy units made up of both façonner rebels and regulars, one the vivres of the Algiers agreement.
The pact also provides for the decentralisation of governance in Mali, a demand of some of the rebel groups.
Mali heads to polls despite coronavirus and fears
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