Lisbon [Portugal], January 18 (ANI/Xinhua): Almost 250,000 voters Sunday took part in the early vote for Portugal's presidential election scheduled to be held next weekend, according to the Ministry of Internal Administration.
"I see enthusiasm in those almost 250,000 Portuguese who registered for early voting... It means that, in very difficult times, in times when we focus on combating the pandemic, we also have to affirm the values of democracy," Minister of Internal Administration Eduardo Cabrita told reporters.
The presidential election will be completed on January 24, when other qualified voters will be able to vote directly in several places across the country. Seven candidates, including incumbent President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, are in the running in next Sunday's poll.
The objective of allowing early voting is to avoid large concentrations of people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the ministry.
Voters are asked to wear face masks, bring their own pens and disinfect their hands before and after using electoral equipment.
According to the World Health Organisation, face masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress COVID-19 transmission and save lives.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, wearing masks in public has been widely accepted in Asian countries like China, South Korea, and Japan to limit the spread of the coronavirus. (ANI/Xinhua)