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Malians Heading to Voting Polls Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

The Malian government has announced that the parliamentary election scheduled to take place this weekend will continue.

Malians are set to head to the voting polls this coming Sunday in spite of the coronavirus outbreak and a raging jihadist conflict.

AFP reports that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced that the parliamentary election would continue "in scrupulous respect of protective measures."


The push for the election to continue is largely due to crisis talks which looked at potential non-military solutions to resolve the current violence the country is experiencing. Experts are hoping that a new cohort of parliamentary ministers will adopt the reforms agreed upon in a peace deal between the Malian government and several armed groups in Algiers in 2015.

Admittedly, Mali's parliamentary election has long been delayed.

Initially set to take place at the end of October in 2018, the election was delayed by a month citing delays in registering candidates following a strike by judges. Thereafter, the election was again delayed by six months and scheduled to take place in 2019 instead following political tensions between the Malian government and Tuareg rebels.

Since 2012, Mali has been engulfed in conflict after Tuareg rebels staged an uprising which resulted in jihadists taking over key cities in northern parts of the country.

More recently, the country has been facing additional security concerns in light of the growing coronavirus outbreak. This past Wednesday, Mali confirmed its first two cases in two national who had traveled from France. Since then, strict curfews and border closures have been enforced as part of efforts to contain the outbreak.

Following the election this Sunday, a second round of voting is set to take place on April 19th.

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