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Sudan Electoral Official Says Vote Will Proceed Despite Suggestions to Delay Election

  • Peter Clottey

Leading candidates in Sudan's first multiparty presidential election, from left, Yasir Arman, Omar al-Beshir and Sadiq al-Mahdi

Leading candidates in Sudan's first multiparty presidential election, from left, Yasir Arman, Omar al-Beshir and Sadiq al-Mahdi

An advisor to Sudan’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) says the electoral body is organizing meetings with all participating political parties to address their concerns ahead of the April 11th to 13th general election.

An advisor to Sudan’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) says the electoral body is organizing meetings with all participating political parties to address their concerns ahead of the April 11th to 13th general election.

The commission’s media advisor Abu Bakr Waziri said the elections will go on as planned despite suggestions by officials of the Carter Center to delay the vote due to what they described as logistical constraints that may hamper the election.

“I have gone through what they (Carter center) have suggested. They are suggesting that there are some logistical problems in the transport of the election materials…The other day we received nearly all the ballot boxes (and) they are being transported by air to… all the (places) of Sudan,” he said.

The Carter Center released its latest appraisal on Sudan’s upcoming vote saying while much has been achieved in organizing the general elections, the process remains “at risk on multiple fronts.” The center also asked the National Electoral Commission to postpone the vote up to 10 days.

But advisor Waziri said Sudan’s electoral body is well prepared for the vote.

“The statement that I can make on behalf of the electoral commission is that there is no logistical problem that will demand or necessitate any delay in the election…There is no postponement because there (are) no logistical problems here,” Waziri said.

The Carter Center said Sudan’s electoral commission has frequently changed the number of polling stations that will be in operation during the vote.

Some opposition parties have also called for a delay in the vote claiming that they needed more time to pass more democratic reforms.

The opposition recently demanded a full-scale investigation into how a company linked to President Hassan Bashir’s government won the contract to print ballot papers for the vote.

But Waziri said the ballots are being printed under heavy security protection.

“Actually all the ballot papers were printed outside Sudan. Only one ballot which is being printed because of shortness of time… I’m saying while the printing is going on they (opposition parties) wanted to observe that. But all the ballot papers are in the warehouse under tight security measures,” Waziri said.

The upcoming vote will be Sudan’s first in 24 years, which is a key element in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that effectively ended the more than two decades of war between the north and the south.

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