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SPLM Official: We Will Work With Sudan’s ‘De facto’ Government

  • Peter Clottey

A former presidential candidate says despite irregularities during last week’s general elections, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will work with incumbent President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s “de facto” government to avoid another civil war.

Yasir Arman accused the dominant National Congress Party (NCP) of rigging the vote that he says will pave the way for Mr. Bashir to be declared winner of the presidential election.

“We signed a peace agreement and we don’t want to go back to war. The SPLM will speak to the implementation of the agreement and the democratic transformation and justice in Darfur. The National Congress rigged the election in the north (and) we cannot do anything because this is a huge task for the people in Sudan and the international community, which accepted the rigging of the elections in the north,” he said.

Several opposition groups, including the SPLM and the UMMA party boycotted the vote after claiming widespread fraud.

Analysts say the opposition boycott undermined the credibility of Sudan’s five-day elections which incumbent President Bashir is expected to win.

Yasir Arman denied speculations that the SPLM wants to work with Khartoum because it fears the NCP will impede the 2011 referendum in the south.

“No, I said it is because we want to avoid war (but) not because of the referendum. The referendum came as a result of our peace agreement internationally guaranteed and monitored. But the situation right now is that the elections were rigged in the north,” Arman said.

Sudan’s recent election is the first in 24 years after decades of civil war between the north and the south.

Analysts say last week’s vote was an integral part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between President Bashir’s led government and the SPLM.

Arman said despite pulling out of the presidential election, the SPLM made significant gains during the vote.

“The SPLM boycotted the elections. Despite that I myself as a candidate for the SPLM for the presidential race, I brought more than 90% of votes in southern Sudan. This is a clear message to Khartoum that southern Sudan needs new policies and that south Sudan needs the implementation of the peace accord. Bashir got less than 10% in the south, and now the National Congress is trying to massage this figure and go around it,” Arman said.

He further said that the SPLM will continue to monitor the current situation as well as focus on the demands for democratic transformation and the full implementation of the CPA.

Poll observers, including the U.S.-based Carter Center and the European Union stated in their preliminary reports that the elections failed to meet international standards.