Carter Centre reports widespread irregularities in Sudanâ?s vote tabulation

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- Sudanâ?s National Elections Commission (NEC) s hould thoroughly review the results of the recent general election and as quickl y and widely as possible publish the results of individual polling stations in or d er to provide greater transparency and build public confidence, a top monitoring group of the polls has said.
The US-based Carter Centre, in a statement made available to PANA here Tuesday, reported that based on its direct observations, Sudanâ?s vote tabulation process was highly chaotic, non-transparent and vulnerable to electoral manipulation.
The NEC declared President Omar al-Bashir winner of the election, but the Centre said it noted serious concerns about election-related violence and intimidation in several states, especially Northern Bahr al Ghazal, Unity, and Western Equato r ia.
"As a result, the Centre is concerned about the accuracy of the preliminary resu lts announced by the NEC, as procedures and safeguards intended to ensure accura c y and transparency have not been systematically applied and in some areas have b e en routinely bypassed,â? said the statement.
The Centre said a swift posting of all polling station results could allow stake holders to verify the accuracy of the official data, addressing ongoing doubts a s to the credibility of the results.
Though the counting and tabulation period was generally peaceful in most areas; the Carter team said that 'serious incidents were reported in several states'.
In South Darfur, 22 people died in fighting in the East Jebel area, disrupting p olling and counting.
Post-election-related violence in Unity State resulted in t h ree deaths and a number of injuries.
The Centre expressed alarm about this incident and urged the security forces, lo cal authorities, political parties and candidates to demonstrate restraint and r e spect for peaceful civil protest.
Beyond the serious violence in South Darfur and Unity State, there were also ins tances of unwarranted detention and mistreatment of state High Election Committe e (SHC) staff by security forces in Northern Bahr al Ghazal and Western Equatoria .
In Central Equatoria, theft of computers and gubernatorial Results Forms from th e SHC by unidentified armed security forces is of great concern.
It is important that state authorities abide by the rule of law and ensure that citizens, candid a tes, and election management staff are not harassed or unlawfully detained.
Moreover, both the Government of National Unity and Government of Southern Sudan have an important role to play in promoting security of the person.
Since a number of political parties have rejected, or declared that they will ch allenge the election results in court, the Carter Centre said it was essential t h at the NEC and the National Supreme Court act in a timely fashion to facilitate t his process impartially and in compliance with Sudan's international commitments .
While welcoming the holding of national elections in Sudan, the Centre noted tha t the elections were only one of a broader set of commitments in the 2005 Compre h ensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
"In the months ahead, it is important that Sudan ensure that the flaws and irreg ularities in the 2010 elections are addressed so that future electoral processes are improved and a substantive democratic transformation is enabled.
"Improving the conduct of anticipated elections in Gezira, South Kordofan, and o ther areas is critical.
In addition, Sudanese leaders need to redouble efforts t o address the other democratic commitments outlined in the CPA that remain unfulf i lled," said the statement.
The Carter Centre Election Observation Mission has been in Sudan since February 2008 following an invitation from the leaders of the Government of National Unit y and the Government of Southern Sudan.
It deployed, in April, more than 70 short - term observers to observe the balloting, counting, and tabulation processes for t he national elections.
The observation mission was led by former US President Jimmy Carter, former Alge rian Foreign Minister and member of the Elders Lakhdar Brahimi, former prime min i ster of Tanzania and Justice Joseph Sinde Warioba, and Carter Centre President a n d CEO, Dr.
John Hardman.

11 may 2010 08:34:00

xhtml CSS