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International Parliamentarians Call for Sudan Election Postponement


Dozens of parliamentarians from around the world made a call Friday for the upcoming elections in Sudan to be postponed. In a public letter they say the building blocks for a free and fair election are not in place.

The letter was signed by over 30 Parliamentarians from Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Angelika Beer is a former Member of the European Parliament and co-chairs the Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and Human Security. "This international initiative urges to withdraw the elections in the moment because we are sure that it would be better to postpone the election for a while to find a new solution and to ensure that the opposition groups can participate," she said.

The presidential, legislative, and gubernatorial elections are scheduled to begin Sunday.

The election follows the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, which brought to an end one of Africa's longest civil wars.

The ballot will be the country's first multi-party election since 1986, but a number of opposition groups have said they plan to boycott.

And, says Beer, the outcome of the vote is now evident. "The result of elections if they take place now is very clear. President Bashir will be elected once again but that is not the peaceful solution for Darfur neither for the next decision in the next year if the South will belong to Sudan in the future or not," she said.

A referendum is due to take place in January of next year to decide if the country's northern and southern regions will split.

Beer says the international governments and organizations that supported the CPA in 2005 now need to ensure that the agreement is implemented properly.

But, says African elections expert Justin Willis, it may now be too late.

He says the problems with Sudan's election have been evident for over a year. "Sadly not enough has really been done in order to prepare logistically, organizationally for this, and not enough has been done either to ensure freedom and fairness," he said.

And, he says, some of the responsibility lies with the international community, which he says could have done more to ensure free and fair elections in Sudan. "It's not being run by the UN as elections in some other countries have been, so it's a national responsibility, but nonetheless more pressure could have been put on to make sure that proper arrangements were made and I suspect more could have been done in terms of infrastructure, financial support and so on," he said.

President Omar al-Bashir is expected to be re-elected in the vote. He has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

The election is set to conclude Tuesday.

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