legislative elections maintained this Sunday despite the coronavirus

Mali announced its first official Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. A man and a woman in Bamako and Kayes, in the west of the country, tested positive. Despite everything, voters are called to the polls on Sunday March 29 to appoint their deputies.

With our correspondent in Bamako, Coralie Pierret

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After Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, in Mali, President Ibrahim Boubabcar Keïta has declared a curfew as of this Thursday, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. This Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced that first two cases of Covid-19 had been recorded on Malian soil. A man and a woman who entered Mali after a trip to France on March 12 and 16.

A new health situation that has not changed the electoral calendar. The first round of the legislative elections is still confirmed for this Sunday. And the election campaign is gloomy in the streets of the capital. Some campaign posters still decorate the main avenues of Bamako while the meetings have all been officially canceled. Only a few neighborhood meetings are maintained.

Near the airport, around thirty residents are grouped in a circle in an alleyway. Mamadou Bolly came to listen to candidates in the legislative elections: “ Usually, it’s not like that, it’s a little different. We can bring together a lot of people, 100 people, 200 people. But now, we will limit. We were told 50 people. The authorities told us that, they communicated it on the radio, on TV. People must not meet because there are diseases circulating.

“It has been a year since the mandates of deputies have expired”

Indeed, gatherings of more than 50 people are now prohibited. Some demanded the postponement of the elections because of the pandemic. Adama Koné, candidate for the deputation and scientific researcher, is divided: “ It’s really a dilemma for researchers to say that we had to postpone it until things calm down. Now the government is in a dilemma, because it has been a year since members’ terms have expired. There is social pressure, there is political pressure, there is security pressure.

With or without the Covid-19 case, the elections will be maintained, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse announced already last Thursday, March 19.

The legislative elections emanate from the decision of the inclusive national dialogue.

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