Mbeki Panel brokers deal to push for free elections in Sudan

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union-led High-Level Panel on Sudan, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, has brokered a pre-election deal, to ensure political parties participating in Sudanâ?s elec tions in April stick to the rules of fairness.
The Sudanese political parties, including the Sudan Peoplesâ? Liberation Moveme nt (SPLM), adopted an electoral code of conduct during a political summit convened by the M beki Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) in the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba, the AU said Thursday.
The code, adopted by some 15 Sudanese political parties, commits the parties and candidates to common principles for free and fair elections.
It also calls for the parties to promote voter education, and to cooperate with national and international election monitors.
AU officials said the new voluntary code does not replace the official functions of the National Elections Commission or Sudanese electoral laws, but facilitates self-regulation by Sudanâ ?s political parties during the forthcoming elections.
Sudanese political parties have launched campaigns ahead of the April presidenti al, parliamentary and governorship elections.
The parties also discussed other political developments in Sudan, including the situation in Darfur and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and adopted a declaration s upporting peaceful and democratic change in Sudan.
Sudanese First Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, attended the political parti es meeting, along with representatives of civil society and observers from the diplomatic community.
The AU Panel believes that the code and declaration, which are now open for adop tion by other national political parties and independent candidates, will encourage the peaceful implem entation of democratic and political processes within Sudan.
The Mbeki Panel was established to assist the Sudanese parties to implement the recommendation of the AU Panel on Darfur and to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and other related processes in Sudan.
Former heads of state Gen.
Abdulsalami Abubakar of Nigeria and Pierre Buyoya of Burundi are the other members of the Panel.

04 march 2010 12:36:00

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