News / Africa

Analyst Sees Potential Problems With Sudan's April Elections

Fouad Hikmat of the Crisis Group says the National Congress Party's control of the electoral commission and lack of representation for Darfur could be problematic

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

Multimedia

Audio
  • Fouad Hikmat of International Crisis Group spoke with Butty

James Butty

Campaigning for Sudan’s first multi-party election in 24 years is underway after kicking off over the weekend. 

Twelve candidates are running for president in the April 11 election, including longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur.

Fouad Hikmat, the International Crisis Group’s advisor on the African Union and Sudan, said while the April elections are important for Sudan’s democratic transformation, the outcome could be problematic for a number reasons.

“Very clearly Darfur is not being able to play a role in this election, and therefore I will see that the solution for Darfur after this election is going to be problematic,” he said.

Another problem, Hikmat said, is the fact that President Bashir’s National Congress (NCP) controls the national electoral commission.

“There is a lot of accusation that the environment is not free and fair given that the National Congress Party is controlling the National Electoral Commission and it will bring about a majority of a government that has been part of the conflict in Darfur. And therefore the election might not bring stability. On the contrary it might bring a sort of a continuation of violence and grievances after the election,” Hikmat said.

President Bashir of Sudan
President Bashir of Sudan

Hikmat said President Bashir would like to win the election to send a message to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"Specifically Bashir, he’s being accused by the ICC, and that’s why it is extremely important for him to win the elections to give a message that if I was a person that committed crimes against humanity, my people wouldn’t have chosen me,” Hikmat said.

However, Hikmat said President Bashir would be making a false assumption about his legitimacy following the election.

“If he regains his legitimacy based on those grounds, then he would have got an argument to some an extent, although that argument whatever it is, it is not going to wave away a judicial process, and that is the process of the International Criminal Court,” he said.

Hikmat said Bashir could also use the results of the election to legitimize himself over his political opponents, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

“For the SPLM, it is very concerned that the re-legitimization of the NCP which is not based on a fair and free election, might jeopardize the implementation of the remaining provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Hikmat said.

He also said a re-legitimized President Bashir could also have repercussion for Darfur rebel groups.

“As far as the Darfur rebel groups, they think that the re-legitimization of Bashir, given that he is going to argue that look I have been re-elected and therefore what happened in Darfur is not true and might give a sort of legitimate grounding for Bashir to continue not finding a settlement to the Darfur problem,” he said.

Hikmat said if this happens, it would mean that the violence in Darfur would continue because the grievances and root causes would not have been resolved,” he said.

He said if the April election happens in an atmosphere of illegitimacy, the new government and institutions which will be developed to continue the negotiations might not be acceptable by Darfurians, specifically the internally displaced.

At their last meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, African leaders reiterated their request for the United Nations to invoke Article 16 which allows the UN Security Council to suspend the ICC prosecutions for a period of 12 months so as to give peace a chance in Darfur.

Hikmat said the African Union’s Panel on Darfur led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, recognizing the lack of an independent legal system in Sudan has recommended the establishment of a hybrid court system in Darfur.

“As far as the ICC (is concerned), that is up to the Sudanese to deal if they could reach a peaceful agreement somewhere in the future for a truce and reconciliation. But still that will not wave the request of the ICC which is to bring Bashir and other culprits into the process for international judicial accountability,” Hikmat said.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More