News / Africa

US Envoy Trying to Salvage Sudan Election Process

U.S. Sudan envoy Scott Gration is meeting government and opposition officials in Khartoum, trying to salvage the country's troubled election process. Opposition candidates say they will boycott the country's upcoming presidential election.

Officials here say Gration is in Sudan on a rescue mission for what are supposed to be the African country's first multi-party elections since 1986.

Gration left Washington earlier this week amid signs of an impending opposition boycott of the presidential voting due to begin April 11.

Since then, the SPLM, the ruling party of the semi-autonomous southern Sudan region said it was dropping out of the race because of alleged vote-rigging by the National Congress Party of President Omar al-Bashir.

Three other opposition parties said Thursday they have also withdrawn. This month's election is a critical part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Accord, the CPA, intended to resolve Sudan's long-running north-south conflict.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley suggested that Gration still believes the election can be salvaged, calling the political situation in Khartoum fluid and saying the announced decisions by the opposition groups are not necessarily final.

"Our goal is to produce as competitive an election as possible. We recognize that this is a difficult environment. These are complex and difficult issues," he said. "Sudan hasn't done this in a while. But we're aware of the issue, we're looking into it, we're working with the parties. We want to see full implementation of the CPA. But I just don't want to specifically say that what might be occurring at one moment is necessarily  going to be the definitive, final answer," said Crowley.

Crowley said the presidential election is a major step toward the referendum to be held next year on the political future of southern Sudan, and that getting it right will be a big advance for both the north and south.

A senior State Department official who spoke to reporters said a boycott would not be in the long-term interests of Sudan's opposition parties, though he said he was not minimizing their complaints about the process.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group Tuesday also accused the ruling National Congress Party of trying to rig the elections, saying the NCP has drafted election laws in its favor and that flawed census data had been used to set up electoral districts.

Human rights groups have said the ruling party is intimidating and attacking opponents.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere urged all Sudanese parties to work urgently to ensure that the April elections can proceed peacefully and credibly.

The three officials expressed deep concern about what they termed continuing administrative and logistical challenges to the voting, as well as restrictions on political freedoms.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid