Malians go to the polls on Sunday for the long-delayed parliamentary election despite a security crisis, the recent kidnapping of a leading opposition politician and the coronavirus pandemic.
With coronavirus cases on the rise, the government has declared a medical emergency in the country But people will still head to the polls on Sunday to vote for a new parliament.
Just days earlier there had been speculation as to whether the President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita would call off Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
The coronavirus pandemic has the West African state in panic mode.
Neighboring Senegal and Burkina Faso, which have so far recorded 99 and 146 cases respectively, have already been hard hit.
Mali, for now, only has seven confirmed cases after the government imposed a curfew and declared a health emergency. Still, Keita declared: “The vote will go ahead on March 29 under the precautions.”
The last parliamentary election took place in 2013.
Elections that should have been held in 2018 were consistently delayed.
“These parliamentary elections resulted from the decision of the National Dialogue, which set deadlines,” President Keita said.
The National Dialogue of December 2019 was considered an important step in reestablishing government control over the country after Islamists took control of northern Mali.
The nation has been thrown into crisis, as various terror groups remain active.
Central Mali in particular has become a battleground between villages and their self-defense militias.