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Somalia will push ahead with plans to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in early 2021, removing doubt that it will delay the vote because of the spread of Covid-19.

“Holding a timely election is more important than anything else at this time and it’s one of the primary goals which the public entrusted us,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre said in a speech following a cabinet meeting.

The Horn-of-Africa nation has endured two decades of civil war, and is contending with the worst desert-locust plague in recent memory and an insurgency by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group. The government is seeking debt relief as the coronavirus pandemic adds to its woes — it has almost 2,000 cases and a health system ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak.

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