Washington, Apr 2 (efe-epa).- The Democratic Party decided on Thursday to postpone by more than a month its national convention – at which it will formally nominate its presidential candidate for the November election – due to the “uncertainty” created by the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Committee that organizes the convention announced in a statement that the huge meeting, which had been scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had been postponed until the week of August 17, albeit in the same city.
The announcement comes just a day after the favorite in the Democratic race, former Vice President Joe Biden, expressed his doubts about the possibility that the convention – which is expected to draw 50,000 people – could be held in July.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” said Joe Solmonese, the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, in a statement.
“During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders,” he added, going on to say that “I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November.”
DNC president Tom Perez, meanwhile, said that “Leadership means being able to adapt, and that’s exactly what our party is doing. … Ultimately, the health and safety of our convention attendees and the people of Milwaukee is our top priority.”
Convention organizers are not ruling out adjusting the convention format to avoid unnecessary risks to public health, the DNC said in its statement.
The date change implies that the convention will be held the week before the Republican National Convention, the start of which is scheduled for Aug. 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
President Donald Trump will be officially nominated for re-election at that convention and will go up against whoever the Democrats pick at their own conclave.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of more than 5,300 people in the United States so far and infected at least 217,000, forcing authorities around the country to implement movement restrictions and stay-home orders and to cancel public events.
Although many experts are confident that the crisis will lessen in the US by the end of July, there are no guarantees that it will be resolved by mid-August and it is possible that the pandemic will complicate travel plans for Democratic delegates, especially people who are advanced in years.
Biden is currently favored over his one remaining rival for the presidential nomination – Sen. Bernie Sanders – but he still has not garnered the 1,991 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination and, thus, he cannot yet take over the reins of planning for the convention.