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Sudan’s Election Chief Defends April Poll Results

  • James Butty

President Omar al-Bashir casts his ballot as he runs for another term, on the first day of the presidential and legislative elections, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 13, 2015.

President Omar al-Bashir casts his ballot as he runs for another term, on the first day of the presidential and legislative elections, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 13, 2015.

The chairman of Sudan’s Independent Electoral Commission has defended the conduct of the country’s April 13 elections, saying the only way to have peace in Sudan is to have a constitutionally-elected government.

Mukhtar al-Assam said those who criticized the election want Sudan to be in chaos like South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq.

The commission announced Monday that President Omar al-Bashir had been re-elected to another five-year term after winning more than 94 percent of the vote. Most of the major opposition parties boycotted the election.

Assam said the turnout of 46 percent was better than last month’s general election in Nigeria, which was 42 percent.

“The final results of the elections showed that 46.4 percent of the total voter turnout voted in this election. Out of the 13 million, about six million voted in this election. President Bashir got 5,242,000 votes. Out of the number of total votes, [that] is the percentage of 94.04 percent,” he said.

Many of the major opposition parties, which boycotted the vote, described the results as a joke.

The European Union, United States, Britain and Norway all criticized the election saying the lack of a promised national dialogue left Sudan without an inclusive political process.

U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Monday the United States does not consider the outcome to be a "credible expression" of the will of the Sudanese people.

Assam said the results were the outcome of a “transparent” election where all the votes were counted in the presence of all political party representatives and observers.

“In the last election in Nigeria, [turnout] was 42 percent. Even Obama in the USA [in 2012], the participation was 33.4 percent. So, the turnout in this election wasn’t that bad,” Assam said.

The Sudanese election official said the non-participation of major opposition parties did not leave a cloud hanging over the results. On the contrary, he said Sudan has to have the election to meet a constitutional deadline.

“There was no need to continue ruling a country in a constitutional manner without any election unless that somebody is advocating that the ruling party should continue to rule the country without the constitution, without any authority,” he said.

He said those who criticized the election want Sudan to be in chaos like South Sudan, Syria, Libya, countries that are all experiencing some form of conflict.

“Those countries who are saying that this election should not have taken place are just saying that Sudan should go into the same path of South Sudan, where a civil war is taking place, Libya where civil war is taking place, Yemen where civil war is taken place. No, I don’t think Sudan should take that path,” Assam said.

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