A prominent member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) told VOA his party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will soon hold discussions to extend the period of the ongoing voter registration process ahead of the 9th January referendum.
Rabie Abdelati Obeid said the NCP believes that there is need for the extension to allow the referendum commission to adequately prepare to organize a credible vote on whether south Sudan remains united to the north or becomes independent.
“At the beginning of this phase of registration, the turnout, even in the south and north, (was) not okay due to obstacles. Some of these were created by SPLM members, especially in the northern states, terrorizing and threatening. Also, Eid days (Muslim holiday), vacations, the movement of people outside the city (are) far away from registration centers, this affected the registration,” Obeid said.
“In addition, (there were) some obstacles already shown by the referendum commission saying that a lot of facilities were not provided, financial support was not provided and some other logistic needs. These are actually major reasons for the necessity of the extension of the registration (period).”
Obeid’s comments came after Sudan’s referendum commission reportedly petitioned both the NCP and the SPLM parties asking for an extension of the voter registration period.
The commission cited, among other things, logistical and financial challenges that could undermine the organization and the credibility of the January referendum.
Obeid said both parties have to unanimously agree before the extension would be approved. He also said that the extension of the voter registration period will encourage more prospective voters both in the north and south to register ahead of the referendum
“Definitely, I think that the referendum commission acknowledged that there were a lot of problems during the past days starting from the beginning of registration. And, they also acknowledged that some people (created) a lot of obstacles and there were violations (which), according to the referendum commission, will not lead to a transparent referendum.”