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Sudan Electoral Official Pleased With Voter Turnout

  • Peter Clottey

A top official of Sudan’s National Electoral Commission says the electoral body is pleased with the overall voter turnout at the ongoing general election.

Media advisor, Abu Bakr Waziri said the electoral commission has resolved problems voters encountered at the beginning of the election, leading to a smooth voting process.

“We got reports about percentages of those who have voted in the second and third day (of voting). You know we made an extension for the voting for two more days, so it will continue tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. The problems that you know were reported in the first day were all solved now and everything (has been) put in order. And we can say for the remaining two days the percentage of the voting will be even higher,” he said.

The electoral commission granted a two-day voting extension until Thursday due to what it described as administrative and technical mistakes at some polling stations.

The electoral body said the rationale behind the extension was based on objective reasons noticed during the first day of voting.

Waziri said the electoral commission is ready to resolve any problems during the election.

“The commission is meeting everyday to talk about the progress of the voting in all the states and to solve any problems that may arise,” Waziri said.

Opposition groups have often criticized the electoral commission of being influenced by incumbent President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s National Congress Party to rig the vote -- a charge the electoral body denies.

Several opposition groups, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the UMMA party boycotted the presidential poll after accusing the National Congress Party (NCP) of using state resources, limiting their access to the state media and refusing to address key democratic reform demands.

International election observers include the Carter Center, the African Union, the Arab League and the European Union, among others.

Waziri said the electoral commission is working closely with the poll observers.

“We are coordinating with them and now they are in every town in Sudan because we have a big number of observers…when President Carter arrived in Khartoum last week he commended what has been done by the National Electoral Commission and he (thought) that the election will be free and fair,” Waziri said.

U.S former President Jimmy Carter is in Sudan at the head of the observer team from the Carter Center.