News / Africa

    Ruling Sudanese Party Charges Referendum Act Violations

    Southern Sudanese hold pro-independence banners as they march through the streets of the southern capital Juba, 09 Oct 2010
    Southern Sudanese hold pro-independence banners as they march through the streets of the southern capital Juba, 09 Oct 2010

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    • Rabie Abdelati Obeid, a leading member of Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) spoke with Clottey

    Peter Clottey

    A leading member of Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) said President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government will not recognize the result of the January referendum based on what he described as strong violations of the Referendum Act by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the referendum commission.

    Rabie Abdelati Obeid told VOA a group of southern Sudanese has documented over 100 violations of the Referendum Act, which he said will adversely affect the credibility of the 9th January “self determination” vote.

    “The referendum commission did not comply with the terms and period mentioned in the Referendum Act and this is clearly a violation of the act that the referendum cannot be held on the 9th of January 2011. (And) all employees of the registration centers should be at least 40 years (of age). (But) now, 100 percent of the employees doing the registration some of them (are) 20 years, (others are) 22 years,” said Obeid.

    Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)
    Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

    “The referendum commission did not take any action regarding the violation by the SPLM, as SPLM forces closed down more than 10 or 15 registration centers in the south, and they (have) also driven the employees out of the centers, and this is also a very clear violation.”

    A group of southern Sudanese has reportedly filed a petition with the Sudanese Constitutional Court asking the court to dissolve the referendum commission based on claims that there were serious violations of the ongoing voter registration.

    But, supporters of the SPLM are accusing the NCP of being behind the move to dissolve the commission to thwart preparations for the referendum.

    Sudan’s referendum commission is compiling a voter list to be used for the referendum in which southern Sudanese will choose whether to be part of the north or become an independent country.

    Obeid said his party has often expressed concern over allegations of intimidation and harassment of prospective voters by partisans of the SPLM, a charge officials of the semi-autonomous south dismissed as without merit.

    “These reasons (violations) are enough to dissolve the referendum commission because the referendum commission is an executive body and (it) should comply with the law, the constitution and the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement).”

    Analysts say the country could be thrust into crisis if constitutional court rules in favor of the petitioners to dissolve the commission ahead of the referendum.

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