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SPLM Official Disagrees with Observers on Transparency of Northern Sudan Vote

SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum says President Bashir's National Congress Party rigged the vote to show legitimacy

African Union observers in Sudan said Sunday that the country’s elections were “free and fair”.

An official with the AU observer mission – Kunle Adeyemi -- was quoted as saying that while the vote was not perfect, the group found no evidence of fraud.

Pagan Amum, secretary general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), south Sudan's main political party said the vote in the north was not free and fair.

“In northern Sudan, the SPLM of course is not contesting the elections; it’s boycotting these elections. Political parties that contested are all clearly indicating that these elections are rigged by the National Congress (Party). Even some candidates who voted for themselves, even their votes were not shown to them. It’s a real farce, it’s a real total rig by the National Congress (Party),” he said.

Amum accused President Omar al-Bashir of seeking legitimacy through the falsification of the will of the people something he said would not be acceptable to the people of northern Sudan.

He said SPLM candidates were performing well in the constituencies in which they contested the poll.

“The latest update indicates the SPLM is winning a very comfortable majority in southern Sudan. For sure the presidency of southern Sudan is secured for the SPLM candidate Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit with a very wide margin of victory with the other candidate of the so-called SPLM-DC (Sudan people’s Liberation Movement Democratic Change),” Amum said.

Amum said the elections in the south hold special significance for the people of that region of Sudan.

“The SPLM contested elections in Southern Sudan to seek the mandate of the people and to take the people of southern Sudan to the referendum, while in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, the SPLM is contesting to seek the mandate of the people to lead them to the exercise of popular consultation in these two states,” Amum said.

He said the south boycotted the elections in Sudan’s western Darfur region in solidarity with the people there who he said are demanding an end to the conflict as well as the lifting of the state of emergency in Darfur.

Amum said until the referendum in January 2011, south Sudan will continue to remain a part of Sudan’s unity government.

“Definitely the SPLM will be participating in the government of national unity representing southern Sudan until the referendum where the future of SPLM participation will be decided by the people. If the people of southern Sudan vote separation, then the SPLM in the national government will resign and go to the south to join the rest of the people of southern Sudan to establish their own independent state,” Amum said.

The African Union assessment came a day after observers from the European Union and the Carter Center of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said the Sudan elections failed to meet international standards.