Polling for the 2020 parliamentary election began at 7 a.m. today with strict health guidelines in place to minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus on election day.

There was a high turnout among voters in certain districts with all adhering to the health requirements such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and taking their own pens to mark the ballot paper.

The poll will close at 5 p.m.,  an extra hour later than on usual voting days, allowing people more time to vote  while complying with  health rules such as maintaining social distancing  and sanitizing hands at polling booths.

Over 200,000 public officials and around 69,000 police personnel are  on election duty at 12,985 polling stations across the country. An additional 10,000 health sector workers have been deployed to ensure that  the health guidelines are adhered to  during the election and at counting centers.

The election is being monitored by local personnel  due to the inability of foreign election monitors  to travel to the country due to the COVID-19 related restrictions in place.

A total of 7,452 candidates are vying for a seat in the 225-member Parliament, with 3,652 contesting from political parties and another 3,800 from independent groups. In 2015, a total of 6,151 candidates contested.

One hundred and ninety-six (196) Members of Parliament (MPs)   will be directly elected from the 25 districts to the Legislature while 29 will be appointed from the National List.

A total of 16,263,885 are eligible to vote at this year’s Parliamentary Election, about 270,000 more than those who were registered to vote at last November’s Presidential Poll. The 2019 electoral list will be used for the election while for November’s Presidential poll, the 2018 list was used.