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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan dismisses new delay of general elections

June 11, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan dismissed today the possibility of any further delay of the general elections in the country after the publication of reports in Khartoum saying it would be deferred for the second time.

Reuters reported that the deputy chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah spoke about the possible delay of the general elections in Sudan which had been initially scheduled for July 2009 but finally the electoral board decided to hold it in February 2010.

“We are considering a modification, an adjustment of our old timeframe to accommodate the delays that have taken place,” Abdallah said.

But the NEC deputy chairman released a statement on Thursday denying the deferral of presidential and legislative elections, saying the electoral process consists of different phases governed by a calendar that is determined by the 2008 national elections law and the electoral commission.

He explained that the delimitation of constituencies of last one month would be followed by another month to receive any complaints against this demarcation.

After the publication of the final list of constituencies, the NEC will begin the registration of electors; the operation will take a month. Here also following the publication of the Register of Electors, the commission will receive complaints and adopt the final lists.

“Delays in receipt of the results of the fifth census, the basis for this process, and the delay in the completion of the electoral committees in the states, required the commission to consider in this matter,” Abdallah said

“However the commission has not yet issued any modification to the timeframe and they are still studying this issue, he added.”

Commenting on the possible delay, the Sudanese political forces reacted differently to the announcement.

SPLM spokesperson Yen Matthew said his party would react about the issue when the delay is officially announced. He however slammed the electoral board for the delay in the delimitation of constituencies and the registration of electors.

Youssef Hussein of the Communist Party echoed the criticism of the SPLM saying such delay is unjustified. He also wondered why the census results had been delayed all that time.

Tag Elsir Mohamed Saleh, leading member of the Democratic Unionist Party said the NEC has discretionary power in this matter and we have to respect its independence while Fadel Allah Burma Nasir, deputy chairman of the Umma party, said the most important is that these elections be well prepared.

Observers inside and outside the country expect the delay because of the non demarcation of the north-south border besides the fact that the SPLM is contesting the results of the fifth census, asking for political settlement to the census outcome while the National Congress Party refuses to consider this request.

The last general election, held in April 1986, was won by the Umma party of Sadiq Al-Mahdi, whose government was overthrown in a 1989 coup that brought Omer Al-Bashir to power. In a presidential election boycotted by the opposition and held in December 2000 Bashir secured 86% of votes.

(ST)