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We Are Proud of Sudan’s Vote, Says Electoral Commission Official

A top official of Sudan’s National Electoral Commission says the electoral body is proud of organizing the country’s first election in 24 years despite criticisms the vote failed to meet international standards.

Media advisor Abu Bakr Waziri said the electoral commission will tabulate the rest of the vote results Thursday and declare a winner of the presidential election.

“The results which were coming were not that big. Only this afternoon and this evening we got as many (results). We are expecting (and) hoping that by Thursday, we will receive all the tabulations from all the states including the president,” he said.

Ballot counting began last Friday after five days of general election voting. Local media reported that incumbent President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, as expected, is heading toward an overwhelming victory.

Several opposition groups, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) pulled out of the general elections after accusing President Bashir’s dominant National Congress Party of influencing the National Electoral Commission to rig the vote -- a charge the electoral body denies.

Waziri said the electoral body did a good job in organizing the election.

“We as the National Electoral Commission, we are very confident of what we have done. If there is some logistical problem if there is some technical problem, they did not amount to affecting the whole process of the election. There were only minor mistakes and they were corrected at the same time,” Waziri said.

In their preliminary reports, international poll observers including the Carter Center and the European Union concluded that the elections failed to meet international standards because of widespread problems.

But officials of the electoral commission said it was unfair for the poll monitors to expect the general elections to meet international standards after the country’s first vote in 24 years.

Waziri said consultants from whom the electoral body sought guidance were pleased with the organization of the election.

“Our advisors from the UN and others when we checked with them they said these (problems) were actually very small mistakes that could happen everywhere in the election process in every democratic country,” Waziri said.

This month’s Sudan election forms part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war between the President Bashir-led government and the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM).