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Izvestia: COVID-19 compels 18 countries to put off elections

The novel coronavirus was the second case in the 21st century when the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared a pandemic. That happened for the first time during the swine flu outbreak in 2009-2010. However, the ongoing spread of the virus has for the first time resulted in profound changes to electoral procedures in various countries, with elections and referendums being postponed indefinitely, Izvestia writes citing an analytical note titled "Electoral Coronavirus" prepared by the Civil Society Development Foundation.

According to its authors, as many as 18 countries have decided to postpone voting amid the pandemic, or have imposed restrictive measures, which prevent them from holding elections within the established deadlines.

That concerns, in particular, the presidential elections in the United States and Poland. Due to the pandemic, the US primaries have been delayed in several states. Some other states have put off elections from spring to summer. Nevertheless, the date for the US presidential election, November 3, has remained unchanged so far.

In a similar vein, Russia’s Central Election Commission has decided to postpone 102 election campaigns scheduled to be held from April 5 to June 21, 2020.

"In the event of a favorable forecast, it is essential to restore normal life in all areas as soon as possible. Of course, the less time that is required for that, the higher the authorities’ approval ratings will be," the foundation’s Chairman Konstantin Kostin explained to Izvestia.

For his part, Mikhail Emelyanov, First Deputy Chairman of the Just Russia faction in the Russian State Duma (lower house), told the paper that the pandemic’s impact on politics would depend on the country’s resources. The authorities’ actions today are effective, but the most important question is how long the pandemic will last. Russians will not be able to stay away from work for more than one month. That’s why compliance with the quarantine rules is so important for everyone, the lawmaker stressed.



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