April 11, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The withdrawal of the SPLM candidate for Sudan President raised many frustrations among Sudanese in the capital particularly young men who vote for the first time.
- A street vendor sits in front of an election campaign poster of Yasser Arman, the SPLM candidate for the upcoming presidential election in Khartoum March 31, 2010. (AP)
The Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) announced the withdrawal of its candidate Yasir Arman. The party said he had voluntarily asked to quit the presidential race.
Arman was seen as the sole challenger that who might put in difficulty the incumbent president in this first multiparty election since 1986.
The SPLM figure besides the support of his party saw many popular committees campaigning for him form including youth, women and rights activists supporting his candidacy besides a website broadcasting video and daily statements.
His supporters were not only from the South, he became the candidate of Sudanese youth tired of 20 years of Bashir rule. The former rebel was also backed by those who do not trust the candidates of the main traditional parties.
His withdrawal was seen differently by his disappointed supporters. The Southern Sudanese youth living in Khartoum said the SPLM scarified them. "They sold us to the NCP," said Tong and Deng who grew up in Haj Youssef suburb.
While northern Sudanese who supported him considered his withdrawal as clear sign of the will of SPLM leadership to "focus" on the southern part of the country preparing for separation by January 2010.
"His withdrawal was not fair and serious," said Mustafa who is a SPLM member. The young man confessed that he does not believe in the official version given by the leadership adding “many in Juba wanted him to pullout since a while."
"We have been betrayed by separatists in Juba" he said.
Aware of such reaction Riek Machar, the SPLM deputy chairman this week was keen to say that Arman "advocated for his withdrawal. We had tried to convince him for weeks not to do that, but he insisted that he wanted it done that way".
Further after the pullout of SPLM nominees in northern Sudan for legislative and states elections, Kiir and Machar reiterated that this decision was taken by the northern sector. But Yasir reiterated they implemented the party’s decision.
Kiir and Arman stressed yesterday that there was no division with the SPLM over the boycott of elections despite their contradictory statement.
However, observers consider that there are still some issues to elucidate after the elections on Arman pullout from the presidential race. They add that it was not only a difference over elections but goes to the SPLM vision.