Sudan’s ruling party takes early lead in presidential polls (Corrected)

Khartoum- Sudan, (PANA) -- President Omar Hassan el-Bashir got off to a promising start as the presidential polls count began, posting margins of between 85 and 95 per cent in election centres in and around the capital Khartoum.
With National Electoral Commission saying the final result will not be announced until next Friday, it is too early to make any predictions, but a University of Khartoum lecturer, Mr.
Mutasim Elonour Brahim, predicted landslide win for Bashir, saying the other 11 candidates who ran against him were relative novices.
“The National Congress Party was very organized in the countdown to the polls, while the other parties did not have a foothold in national politics.
They also lacked a sound financial backing to upset the incumbent, who has been very visible to the masses,” said Brahim, a former director of the United Nations centre for information and documentation, in Arusha, Tanzania.
He said the opposition support was undermined when the 13 of the 20 parties announced they would boycott the elections, “which precipitated disinterest”.
However, as NCP looked headed for resounding victory, opposition parties criticized the tallying process, saying the ballot papers were faulty as they did not have counterfoils that could be used to tick out illegitimate votes.
At Mlazimin Primary School polling station in North Omdurman, el-Bashir had pulled away with 513, compared to the combined total of his rivals’ 34 votes.
It was a similar scenario at Sauro Girls School, some 100 kilometres north of the capital, where the president was in pole position over 400 votes out of the 683 votes cast.
His closest rival, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) candidate, Deng Niang, had won only four votes as election officials took a break from the searing desert heat that had soared to 46 degrees Celsius later afternoon.
The wide margins posted by the president has been queried by Dr.
Saddiq Alhadi el Mahdi, who is running for the Democrtatic unionist party (DUP).
His agent, Ms Sidiga Sherrif, said the election was fraught with serious anomalies, but there was no mechanism through which the party could successfully appeal against the outcome.
“There are too many mistakes, but we cannot complain because election has been poorly organized and ran,” Sherrif, a cousin to the DUP candidate, said.
Mahdi is a descendant of the great Mahdi lineage credited with Sudan’s independence and whose father, Saddiq el Mahdi, was ousted by the army from power in 1986.
In Bahri District in Khartoum North, Bashir claimed 93 per cent of the 1,075 votes cast at Hamza Yusuf Primary School.
The dispute of the auntheticity of the ballot papers aside, the tallying has generally been uneventful apart from an occasional truck of NCP supporters preparing for their candidates' victory.

16 april 2010 18:42:00

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