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AU election monitoring delegation arrives in Sudan

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April 12, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union (AU) elections monitoring team headed by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo arrived in Khartoum in the early hours of Sunday.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo (Photo: Getty Images)

Obasanjo stressed in statements to Sudan state media (SUNA) the importance of elections in the democratic process adding that monitoring the elections depends on institutions formed by the state to ensure the integrity, transparency and credibility of the polls.

“We came as observers to check that all the participants and contestants have respected the regulations of those institutions that regulate the electoral process and that it reflects the wishes of the citizens,” Obasanjo said.

He expressed hope that Sudan’s democratic experience would witness further improvement.

The Sudanese state minister of foreign affairs Kamal al-Din Ismail on his end expressed his pride in Obasanjo’s role and vast experience in the electoral process.

He added that Obsanjo is more knowledgeable of African affairs than others.

In a meeting held on Wednesday, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) decided to send a mission to monitor the three-day presidential and parliamentary elections in Sudan which began on Monday.

The decision drew strong rebuke from rebel groups who urged Obsanjo to decline heading this mission.

“We deeply regret the decision of president Olusegun Obasanjo to accept chairing this mission,” the Sudanese Revolutionary Front’s (SRF) external relations secretary Yasser Arman said, calling upon Nigeria’s former leader not to involve himself in anti-democratic operations aiming to legitimise a president who committed war crimes and genocide during his 26-year rule.

He claimed that the African Union’s technical team to assess the electoral process in Sudan concluded that it “does not meet the international and African standards for fair and free elections”.

“How can the African Union ignores the technical committee’s decision, and how president Obasanjo accepts to monitor these elections after [such] a decision,” he said.

The SRF official also asked “why Obasanjo accepts for Sudan what he rejects for his country Nigeria” where by the end of March voters elected a new president, Muhammadu Buhari, and members of the lower and upper houses of parliament.

Obasanjo has led several election monitoring missions in Africa where he was subject to fierce criticism at times over his role.

(ST)

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