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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid