This Sunday, Sudan will hold its first national, multi-party election in nearly a quarter of a century. STAND has continued to support the Obama administration’s policy of pressured engagement with Sudan, but it is now apparent that this week’s elections will not be free and fair, and will further entrench the oppressive rule of Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party.
The elections, as initially planned, were a critical part of the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the decades-long civil war in Southern Sudan. The elections were supposed to be a step towards a democratic, peaceful, and stable Sudan. The illegitimacy of this electoral process, however, creates further opportunities for conflict with Southern Sudan to reignite, particularly as the South approaches its own referendum on independence next year.
A number of events over the past few weeks have threatened the legitimacy of next week’s elections. The Sudanese government has started anew a military offensive in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur, killing hundreds of civilians and displacing tens of thousands. Two major opposition parties, the Umma Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Southern Sudan’s main party, have declared their intention to boycott elections in the north, citing electoral fraud and security concerns. On an international level, the European Union has withdrawn its election observers from Darfur, citing concerns about the safety of its personnel.
Given the lack of electoral transparency, the grave security situation in Darfur, and the level of government repression of opposition parties, it is extremely unlikely that this week’s elections will be conducted in a free and fair manner. We must ensure that the Obama administration does not legitimize an illegitimate government.
Take action now. Call 1-800-GENOCIDE and tell Secretary Clinton that the United States must not recognize the results of Sudan’s illegitimate presidential elections.