Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sudan: Embassy of Sudan - "The Sudanese have spoken"

SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan - A democratic era has been inaugurated in Sudan with the conclusion of the historic elections, marking yet another significant milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The multiparty elections held from April 11th through the 15th, covered all levels of government, including the Executive (presidential, gubernatorial) and legislative (National Parliament, South Sudan and State legislatures). The result is a national government, led by President Omer al-Bashir and vice President Salva Kiir, that reflects the aspirations and enjoys the full support of the Sudanese populous. The vice President was also elected to lead the government of Southern Sudan.

Despite the plebiscite being the first in over two decades for the country and in addition to the fact that it was among the most complex in the world, the process was a great success. There was an outstanding voter turnout including in Darfur, and a wide participation of parties across the political spectrum at the various levels of the polling. In contrast to the recent experiences in different parts of the world, a calm and peaceful atmosphere was observed through the duration of the elections.

Challenges were there, and indeed inevitable in such enormous undertakings. But these were mainly logistic issues, for instance, transportation of ballot cards and other equipments proved to be a tremendous challenge. It also became clear during the polling that people needed more time in the voting booths, so the National Elections Commission extended the voting period by two days. There were some political parties who, feeling that the playing field was not leveled, attempted to withdraw from the elections, but the deadline for doing so had expired and so remained on the ballots whereby their supporters voted for them.

Certain quarters have been fiercely contesting the integrity of these elections, hoping to discredit the legitimate choice made by the people. Despite the tens of thousands of international, regional and local observers that closely monitored the process, and unequivocally stating that there was no rigging to be seen, they continue to insist otherwise.

Yet these challenges and irregularities are not unique to the elections in Sudan. The 2004 U.S. presidential election, for example, experienced some of the same issues and more, including problems with voting accessibility for those entitled, shortcomings in voter registration, multiple registrations of a single voter, and discrepancies during the counting process. There were even instances of voter suppression witnessed, in addition to logistical impediments. And still, despite these ominous indications of a process far from a perfect electoral process, the outcome was nonetheless crowned "democratic". Sudan is no exception. In the end the overwhelming positive aspects of this exercise must receive the biggest consideration. After all, these elections are the first for Sudan in 24 years and should be seen for what they really are; the beginning of a democratic tradition in the country.

See also Sydney Irresistible and Mike Hitchen Unleashed
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