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Voting in Sudan to conclude today- Election Recap

With only one more day of polling to go, Sudanese citizens have been flocking to the polls. However, many officials still site chaos, claiming that very few people who actually registered to vote made it to their designated site. For example, in South Sudan, 1,323 voters were registered for a specific site, but only 29 (or 2%) successfully made it to the poll on the first day. Some of the ballots have errors, creating confusion in the voting process. Fortunately, there has not been as much violence as was anticipated after the pre-election political turmoil that occurred less than two weeks ago. However, opposition candidates and supporters report intimidation and harassment.

      The Sudanese have been granted two extra days to get to the polls so that problems may be corrected. The polling booths will now close today, Thursday, April 15, 2010. Even though there has not been any substantial violence reported, four UNAMID peacekeepers have been kidnapped in Darfur, demonstrating how incredibly unstable and violent the situation in Darfur is right now. In addition, tensions mounted on Thursday as Sudan’s ruling party reported that the southern army had killed nine people, including five NCP officials. South Sudan’s army claims that it was an individual "crime of passion" after one soldier found a NCP official in bed with his wife.

Southern observers also noted that 19 monitors have been removed from polling stations, and one assaulted. Analysts noted that tensions may rise in the coming days as the vote count begins. Results are due by April 20.

      Current President Omar al-Bashir is so confident at this moment of a victory for himself and his party, the National Congress Party, that he has asked opposition parties to join the NCP.

       In response to criticisms of the decision to support the elections, Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who is heading the Carter Center election observation mission, said, “We want to see CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) implementation continue on schedule. This election is part of that process. …Ultimately, we think there’s value in giving the people of Sudan an opportunity to participate in a broader political process for the first time in a quarter century. That has value."

-Emma Smith, National Sudan Education Coordinator


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