April 17, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) approved of the conduct of the Sudanese elections and declared that it conformed with international standards and was credible overall.
Mohammud Abdulahi Hussien, head of IGAD elections monitoring team, said that they successfully deployed their observers to eight states and urged candidates to accept the results or else challenge it through legal venues if needed.
At a press conference he also urged all parties to engage in the national dialogue process launched by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir last year.
Hussien urged officials to train election workers to raise awareness among young people whom he said mostly refrained from voting this time around.
The IGAD official acknowledged logistical issues that hindered elections in several states but nonetheless said that the National Elections Commission (NEC) performance improved relative to 2010.
He also underlined the high level of participation and inclusion of women in the voting process.
Yesterday the African Union (AU) team led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo called for “enhancing” freedoms that would make for a more credible vote.
“I said there are a few things that could have [been] taken that could have made the quality of fairness and freedom to have been enhanced. But I will not say it is absolutely un-free or unfair,” Obasanjo said.
“Some measures could have been taken to enhance that,” he added.
The AU team affirmed that voter turnout was low and said it could be a result of boycott by opposition parties.
“It is not unlikely that the boycott has had some effect on the turnout of voters,” the AU team said in its preliminary assessment released on Friday.
“The extension [of voting for an extra day] for the whole country was to allow more voters to cast their ballots,” he said.
Obasanjo said on Thursday that the vote would likely not exceed 40%.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) issued a statement on Friday hailing the smooth conduct of the elections and its credibility despite attempts to derail it in several states by rebels.
It thanked observers who ignored western pressures and came to monitor the elections.
The vote counting has begun on Friday morning after polls were closed in most of the country on Thursday evening.
Partial results showed a handful of wins for independent and non-NCP candidates particularly in the northern states of Sudan.
But observers nonetheless expect a sweeping win for NCP candidates in all elections including the presidency.