Sudanese electoral body says ready for polls

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Sudan is ready for the polls, the National Electoral Co mmission (NEC) chairman, Mr.
Abel Alier declared here Saturday at a press confer e nce on the eve of the first democratic elections in 25 years, PANA reported from here.
The three-day voting exercise will start Sunday.
Alier, who has been under pressure to call off the polls for alleged rigging in far-flung states such as Darfur and Equatoria, declined to be drawn into the con t roversy that has seen no fewer than 13 of the 20 parties that had initially fiel d ed candidates in presidential, regional, legislative and civic election boycott t he polls that makes it certain for the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to r e tain the presidency and win a majority seats in the national assembly.
President Omar Hassan el Bashir, in power since 1989 through a military coup, is leading NCP in one of the most keenly monitored polls in recent past.
â?For every election, there must be legal and transparent framework.
The legal and constitutional reference of the election is the comprehensive peace agreemen t signed in 2005 (between the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and th e Khartoum government).
The legal reference provides for monitoring of the polls b y local and international monitors to ensure a transparent process,â? Alier said .
The Sudanese poll is arguably one of the most complicated in Africa, with the so uth and the north pursuing agenda that is likely to culminate in the continentâ? s largest nation disintegrating into two autonomous states.
While the north will be voting at three tiers of president of the republic, nati onal assembly, regional governors and regional assembly, the south will, in addi t ion vote for the Government of Southern Sudan President, where the incumbent Mr.
Salva Kiiir Mayardit is the sole candidate.
Some 16.
14 million people are expected to take part in the polls that will be ob served by over 40,000 domestic and international observers.
Prelimary results are not expected until 13 April, when the polling will end, to pave the way for the collation of results.
About 170 million ballot papers are to be used in the polls, a figure that exert s additional strain on NEC in regions in the south, where literacy level is one o f the lowest in the world.
Sudan has 83 registered political parties but the NEC boss said 73 took part in the nomination process that was concluded three months ago.
Out of the 73, only 20 fielded candidates but the electoral process has been mar red by boycotts that could cast aspersions of the legitimacy of the results at t h e national level.
The deputy chair of NEC, Prof.
Abdalla Ahmed Abdalla chided opposition parties f or failing to raise objections with the laid down legal framework that provides t hat one can only withdraw candidacy 40 days in advance.
In effect, the names of candidates and symbols of the parties that are boycottin g the polls will appear on ballot papers and votes cast in their favour will be d eemed valid.

10 april 2010 14:52:00

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