GEC: Election delay possible if situation worsens


General Election Committee's official said the parliament had the full power to delay June elections by two months if the COVID-19 situation worsens. The official also cited many complications with pre-election preparation work due to ongoing travel restrictions and bans.


Currently, lawmakers are in recess until April session and the pre-election campaign was expected to be in full swing starting from mid-May.


With the lengthy curbs on movements and lockdown authorities may find it harder to keep the masses placid in the election year. Any decision to the election delay is risky as it may lead to social unrest against unpopular lawmakers.   


The country has been in travel curbs and restrictions since February and overall the extent of people complying with the restriction rule has been good so far. But prolonged nation-wide lockdown entering into warmer season will further add to social discontent and economic damages. 66% of business owners are now asking to delay debt payments and 22% want rent reduction according to over 1,000 businesses survey. The cash crunch is now becoming a real problem. 


On the other hand, compliance fatigue (e.g. people getting laxer about wearing masks) may set in just the epidemic takes off worldwide in the coming weeks. On top of that, in the case of a widespread virus outbreak in the country the healthcare system, which has been on 24/7 alert since late January, could be in trouble to cope with. 


So far banning mass public events played into the hands of the authorities benefitting from a peaceful couple of months free of anti-government protests. But if bans lifted protests and opposition actions will likely activate as part what is locally known 'Spring Syndrome' effect.


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