Sudanese Elections 101
The first significant elections in Sudan in 24 years are fast approaching in April of 2010. These elections are supposed to serve as a capstone to a democratic transformation promised in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between North and South Sudan in 2005. The elections will also set the scene for the milestone 2011 referendum on secession guaranteed to the people of South Sudan.
- Elections will be held for six levels of government, including the presidential seat. Approximately 70 political parties have already registered for the election.
- 75.8% of eligible Sudanese were registered during the voter registration period ending in December 2009 according to National Election Committee (NEC) statistics. The Carter Center’s independent review (PDF) of the process found it to be generally peaceful and commendable, but without the full incorporation of Darfur voters and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) living in camps. The Center also expressed grave concern about the current political environment in Sudan.
- The deadline for candidate applications to campaign in the election is January 22, 2010. To date, the presidential candidates include:
- Continuing instability in Darfur, where it will be impossible to conduct credible elections without a cessation of hostilities and a sustained improvement in the security situation.
- Government interference in the election process including military intimidation of voters at polling booths, especially in Darfur.
- Increasing violence in South Sudan.
- The lack of a political environment conducive to open competition and credible elections, notably because of the unwillingness of the Government of Sudan to (1) reform the National Security Act which allows the intelligence services to act with impunity against political dissidents; (2) end press censorship and allow equal access to the media for all political parties; (3) ensure freedom of movement and association to allow proper campaigning by all parties; and (4) allow for the transparent monitoring of the campaign, including campaign spending to prevent the improper use of government resources for campaign purposes.
- Read more here.
Role of the United States and International Community:
- These issues have not been addressed and the proper electoral environment has not been created, therefore the United States and the international community needs to ensure these elections do not legitimize a corrupt and genocidal regime.
- If elections are held in the absence of these conditions, then the international community, led by the United States, needs to make clear that:
- The elections are not credible and that the NCP-dominated regime continues to be illgitimate;
- The timetable for the referendum in the South should not be affected by the election results.
Useful links and resources:
Election Updates From The Blog:
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