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Campaigning Begins for Sudan's Presidential Vote

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

Presidential contenders in Sudan kicked off their campaigns Saturday for the African country's first multiparty election in 24 years.

There are 12 candidates running for president in the April 11 election, including Sudan's longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur.

The challengers include southern Sudan's candidate, Yasir Arman, a high-level party official with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

The list also includes Sudan's last elected prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, who Mr. Bashir ousted in a 1989 coup. Sudan's first female presidential contender is also in the running, Fatima Abdel Mahmoud of the Sudanese Democratic Socialist Union party.

Sudanese voters will also choose parliament and state governors.

The presidential election has been delayed twice.

The poll is a key part of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between northern and southern Sudan.

Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold a separate referendum on independence next year.

(afp, reuters, file)

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.