Sudan’s electoral body may extend voting period

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Sudan’s electoral body said Monday it was studying requests by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) to extend the voting period by a maximum of four days.
The Sudanese National Electoral Commission (NEC) said the decision to extend the voting period by four more days would depend on the field reports from its officers.
NEC Executive members admitted that the first day of elections was marred by widespread irregularities and that mistakes were common because the Commission had no prior experience on the conduct of elections on a massive scale.
NEC Technical Committee Head, Al Hadi Mohamed Ahmed, said the NEC was meeting on Monday to discuss the technical mistakes that had been reported since the 11-13 April elections and would consider the request to extend the voting period.
He said already, voting hours had been changed to give more people a chance to vote.
NEC said although it was examining ways of solving some of the mistakes detected in the elections, some solutions required the interventions of the country’s courts.
Campaigners for the South Sudan Presidential candidate, Salva Kiir, said on Monday the region’s dominant political party, the SPLM, would request for four more days of voting.
Samson Kwaje, SPLM’s campaign leader and a former Information Minister, said the elections had been overwhelmed by irregularities, denying the majority of Southern Sudanese voters a chance to participate effectively.
Kwaje told a news conference that several names were missing from the voter register and several ballot boxes meant for use in Southern Sudan were largely missing.
The elections in the remote Southern Sudan were characterized as most dubious.
Kwaje said the NEC was to blame for the failure to stage an election free from irregularities, adding that the election managers lacked capacity to perform the task.
SPLM’s presidential candidate, Yesser Arman, pulled out of the presidential race.
The party’s decision to swap Sudan’s First Vice President Salva Kiir, the party leader, with the candidacy of Yesser Arman, a long-time party spokesman, has also brought questions over the party’s commitment to national unity.
Kiir said he decided to forgo the party’s presidential candidacy to focus on winning the Southern Sudan presidential race.
His challenger is an independent candidate, Lam Akol, a former party stalwart who was sacked as Sudan’s Foreign Minister in the unity government for supporting President Omar Bashir’s NCP.

12 april 2010 18:52:00

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