Presidential election kicks off in Mongolia amid COVID-19 pandemic
The presidential election kicked off across Mongolia on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 2.1 million people eligible to vote.
The vote started at 7 a.m. local time (2300 GMT on Tuesday) at 2,087 polling stations across the country and will end at 10:00 p.m. (1400 GMT on Wednesday), according to the General Election Commission.
Three candidates, namely Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, chairman of the ruling Mongolian People's Party; Sodnomzundui Erdene, former chairman of the opposition Democratic Party; and Dangaasuren Enkhbat, a former legislator that is the candidate from the political alliance the Right Person Electorate Coalition, are running for president.
The presidential election takes place amid the fear of COVID-19 pandemic, and in recent days, more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported per day in the country, mostly in the capital Ulan Bator, which is home to over half of the country's population of 3.3 million.
Preparations were made to protect voters from possible infection while casting ballots, by disinfecting voting stations, marking the standing line at intervals of 1.5 meters, and providing voters with disposable plastic gloves and face masks, the commission said.
Voters, who wear face masks, have had their body temperature checked and rubbed their hands with sanitizer, are allowed to enter the voting booths.
More than 25,600 Mongolian voters, who are not able to come to polling stations in person, including 7,000 people who are staying under compulsory isolation at home or hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cast their votes through special mobile ballot boxes on Tuesday.