UN chief hopes Sudanese elections to expand democracy

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The Presidential elections in Sudan should help in opening the democratic space in the vast oil-rich African country and pave the way for the smooth implementation of the landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),which ended the North-South civil war, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said.
In a statement, issued through his Spokesman, the UN Chief, who spoke hours before voting kicked off in Sudanâ™s first-ever democratic elections in a quarter of a century, said the elections were a critical event ahead of the January 2011 political referendum, which would determine the independence or the unity of the vast Sudan.
"The UN Secretary-General welcomes the elections in Sudan, which mark an important milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)," the UN chief said.
He called on all the Sudanese people to exercise their right to vote.
For the international community, the UN chief said the holding of peaceful and credible elections was of paramount importance.
The Secretary-General encourages the Government, the National Elections Commission (NEC) and political parties to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, free of violence, harassment or intimidation and to engage in dialogue to address outstanding concerns.
In accordance with its mandate, the United Nations will continue to provide technical assistance and limited logistical support to the NEC and other relevant authorities, towards a successful electoral process.
Sudanese voters cast their ballot for the country's President and other region al representatives in one of the six elections ever to take place on Sudanese soil.
Sudan has been ruled by radical military regimes and civilian revolutions which are spread over the countryâ™s history since independence from British-backed Egyptian auhorities.
The elections in the entire Sudan have been viewed in Southern Sudan as a warm up to the January 2011 referendum on the independence of the vast oil producing region.
The African Union (AU) has been calling for a pre-referendum agreement to be put in place to secure peace, if the region votes for its autonomy.
Already, voters in the Southern Sudan said the three-day presidential vote which started on Sunday, would give them time to get used to the process of voting, so that they would be better placed to vote properly during the referendum.

11 april 2010 17:46:00

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