Sudan declares public holiday to increase voter participation

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- The Sudanese government declared a national holiday Thursday - the last day of voting - to allow increased voter participation in the countryâ?s first democratic elections in almost a quarter century.
The holiday was declared after a record five days of voting as the countryâ?s N ational Electoral Commission (NEC) prepared to announce the first round of election resu lts in some 27 constituencies on Friday.
The Sudanese cabinet said the holiday was declared to increase widespread partic ipation by most of the adult voters, including those in far-flung places that were unabl e to effectively participate in the first four days of voting since Sunday.
The NEC said in a statement voting was suspended in 15 constituencies after several mistakes were discovered, including mix ups in the ballot papers and confusion caused by mix ups in the political party symbols.
Election observers have generally given Sudan an approval for carrying out the p rocess, despite some flaws, which the NEC has readily admitted and attempted to correct.
The election observer missions said they would not comment on the full process u ntil the final election results are announced.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, leading election observers from the internationally-respected Carter Centre, said Wednesday he was reserving final judgment until the final results, due on 20 April.
He said the NEC had shown its credibility and sincerity by announcing a two-day extension of voting to make up for the flaws.

15 april 2010 11:24:00

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