Sudanese in Ethiopia vote in Sudan's 1st election in 25 years

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- In the first elections in the largest country in Africa in decades, Sudanese in Ethiopia have began casting their ballots late Sunday morning.
With observers from Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the African Union (AU) and the Arab League as well as few reporters present, the voting started with the Sudanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Moheieddin Salim Ahmed, casting his vote.
Sudanese community sources told PANA there were nearly 1,000 eligible Sudanese in Ethiopia but that only 231 were registered as voters.
The registered voters also had their names pasted on the notice board in the Sud anese Club in central Addis, which is serving as a Poll Centre.
Of these number , 44 are South Sudanese.
"Most of the members of the community are out of Addis or in other countries for business," the source said.
The Sudanese Ambassador said the 1,000 Sudanese eligible were members of familie s of the more than 200 that had registered.
"A typical Sudanese family has about five members most of which are children under the age of 18, making them ineligible to vote," he told reporters.
Nevertheless, Sudanese refugees in Ethiopian refugee camps, one of the largest in neighboring countries, will not participate.
"We have talked to the UNHCR and they said the refugees cannot vote.
We are convinced with their explanation," Salim Ahmed said.
In the first elections in more than 24 years in their country, Sudanese in different parts of the world cast ballots at poll centre set up by their embassies.
The largest voting population is registered in the Gulf Region, particularly in Saudi Arabia where there are are more than 25 polling stations, according to the Ambassador.
Voting in Sudanese elections will hold for three days during which voters in Northern Sudan have to mark on eight voting papers while Southerners will do their 12 times for regional and national presidents, regional and national councils as well as local administrators, among others.

11 april 2010 12:35:00

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