By Joshua Kucera
STEPANAKERT (Eurasia.net) — The authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh are going ahead with plans to hold elections next week in spite of calls from many quarters to postpone them due to the threat of the novel coronavirus.
Karabakh has not yet registered any cases of the disease. But its neighbor and only outlet to the rest of the world, Armenia, is suffering from a rapidly spreading outbreak. As of March 26, the country had registered 290 cases, and the number was rising quickly every day.
As a result, Armenia has issued tight restrictions on movement, with residents forbidden from leaving home with few exceptions.
Armenian and Karabakh officials have sought to prevent the virus spreading from Armenia into Karabakh. When Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced a state of emergency on March 16, he called for Armenians to refrain from traveling to Karabakh, and vice versa, though the suggestion was voluntary. The Karabakh authorities repeated that call on March 25, asking residents of the territory not to travel to Armenia for the next seven days.
In Karabakh, though, the campaign for the de facto president and parliament of the territory is continuing. And officials say the vote, scheduled for March 31, is going ahead – for now.