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In Sudan, Civil Society Mulls Reaction to Election Results

Results show Omar al-Bashir retains the presidency amidst protests from civil society and opposition groups.

The victory of President Omar Al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan did not not come as a surprise to many observers. For weeks, the National Elections Commission, Sudan’s electoral body, postponed the announcement of the results, saying that it needed time to finish the complex process of counting votes from regions like Darfur.

A lack of security there forced the European Union to withdraw its observers.

Al-Bashir was expected to win, given that his closest rival pulled out of the race days before the polls. Yassir Arman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement cited massive irregularities and accused the NEC of working with the ruling National Congress Party to rig the elections.

Nevertheless, Arman’s name remained on the ballot, and he garnered over 20 percent of the vote.

Dr. Mukhtar Albaqir of the Al-Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development says in Khartoum, there was a heightened sense of security as police and army deployed in the city center to deter expected protests. However, Mukhtar says few people took to the streets, but there were sporadic incidents of excitement and celebration in parts of the capital. He says that in central Khartoum, “people came out and shouted a few slogans.”

In a press briefing Monday, Mukhtar’s organization said “the results do not reflect the reality of the elections in the presidential level and at the parliamentarian level.”

He says there were no surprises because “everything was predicted.” Albaqir says that the NCP ‘designed’ the elections as way to keep them in power, a claim made by many in the opposition.

Civil society groups are meeting to decide on future action. “We are hoping that people will come out and reject these results,” says Mukhtar.