New Zealand Election In Question As Coronavirus Threat Reemerges

Jacinda Ardern delays dissolution of Parliament, but says there is no decision yet to postpone September 19 election.

The interior ministry in Belarus said that the police fired with live bullets when the police came under attack in the southwestern city of Brest. The anti-government protests in the country enter the third night of protests on Wednesday. Protesters carrying metal rods attacked the police and they responded with firing live bullets in self-defense, the ministry said in a statement. After the main opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya fled, clashes were reported in several cities including Minsk. The protesters across the country erupted after the electoral commission announced the victory of President Alexnader in Sunday’s presidential vote, which has been condemned by the EU. According to the election officials, he won more than 80 percent of the vote on Sunday, however, there were widespread allegations of rigging by activists and other political parties. Joseph Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief said the people Belarus has shown their desire for democratic change in the country. Meanwhile, the foreign minister of Sweden said that the EU foreign minister will meet on Friday to discuss imposing sanctions on Belarus. The main opposition leader, Tikhanovskaya complained to the electoral committee on receiving just the 10 percent of the vote, in response she was detained for seven hours. She had left for the neighboring Lithuania on Tuesday morning. She further accused the authorities of using excessive violence causing at least one death and several injuries. There have been numerous reports of police brutality, with many people being pulled out of their cars on the third night of the demonstrations. As many as 200 protesters have been injured, one has died, and thousands detained. Olga Chemodanova, the spokesperson of the interior ministry said that on Tuesday night alone more than 1,000 were detained and many police officers were also hurt in the unrest in Minsk and several other cities. She added that the police were targeted by a gang of angry citizens in the city of Brest. Meanwhile, the opposition website claimed that many journalists have also been detained in capital, Grodno, and Brest. Many had their equipment either broken or confiscated by the authorities. There were also reports of several workers going on strikes, however, the state media described this as a fake news. For the news of their relatives and friends, thousands of people gathered outside the prison in Brest. Ahead of the vote, attracted big rallies and galvanized opposition. The former teacher was a stay-at-home mother before she entered the political race after her husband was arrested and blocked from registering the vote.
image via flickr

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has delayed the dissolution of the country’s parliament, which is a key step towards the upcoming election. The move comes as the health authorities recorded locally transmitted coronavirus cases, forcing the country back into lockdown.

On Wednesday, health officials said that they recorded New Zealand’s first locally transmitted cases in more than three months and could be linked to items imported by freight. The recent outbreak prompted the local authorities in Auckland to reimpose strict social distancing restrictions and limit travel across the country.

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While speaking at a news conference, Ardern said she was delaying the dissolution of the legislature, which was intended to make way for the upcoming September elections, until Monday. She further added that no clear decision had been taken on postponing the polls.

The PM said that the government was continuously coordinating with the electoral commission. Ardern added it is too early to make such decisions, but there is the flexibility to move the election to a new date if necessary. She said any date before 21 November can be chosen for the election.

Moreover, Ardern urged the residents to take care of themselves and their loved ones and said that the authorities are searching for the source of the new infections. She said although the experts are primarily looking for the human-to-human transmission of the virus, they do need to check whether it had to do something with the freight.

The latest outbreak has baffled the health authorities, who earlier claimed that there had been no local transmission of the coronavirus in the country for the last three months. Among the new cases, four were within one family from Auckland, who authorities said had not traveled overseas.

Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health, said that the infected family was in strict isolation at home, however, one woman had traveled to tourist spots in Rotorua. Bloomfield added that the authorities were actively tracing her activities and were prepared to conduct tens of thousands of tests in the coming days.

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