SUDAN WATCH: Sudan Elections: NEC announces start of polling - Ex U.S. President Carter congratulates NEC for excellent progress

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sudan Elections: NEC announces start of polling - Ex U.S. President Carter congratulates NEC for excellent progress

Sudan Elections 2010

Juba residents participate in a prayer service on the eve of the country's elections in Juba, Southern Sudan, Saturday, April 10, 2010. The people of Southern Sudan will cast ballots in a national election for the first time in more than two decades when a three-day election begins Sunday. Despite the first-in-a-generation vote, most people are already looking past the elections to a vote next January considered far more significant: a referendum on independence that could signal the birth of a new African nation, if final negotiations with Khartoum over oil rights and the location of the border are worked out peacefully. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Sudan Elections 2010

A Sudanese Muslim boy prays in front of a mosque, near Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, April 10, 2010. The election posters and slogan-filled T-shirts blanketing this town underscore a new excitement in southern Sudan, which will cast ballots in a national election for the first time in more than two decades, when a three-day vote begins Sunday. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Sudan Elections 2010

A Sudanese National Election Commission (NEC) worker prays while her colleagues stand near polling boxes at a polling station in Al Fasher, northern Darfur April 10, 2010. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

Sudan Elections 2010

A Sudanese child is seen during a demonstration to demand stability in Sudan outside the Sudanese embassy in central London, Saturday April 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Sudan Elections 2010

A Sudanese protester holds a placard during a demonstration to demand stability in Sudan outside the Sudanese embassy in central London, Saturday April 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

NEC Announces Beginning of Polling Period
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Saturday, 10 April 2010:
10 April 2010 - (Khartoum) – The National Election Commission has announced that polling will start officially on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference at the Friendship Palace in Khartoum on Saturday, NEC chairman Abel Alier officially announced the start of polling.

[Abel Alier]: “For the last fifty-six days of the electoral process, we were watching and you were watching political parties and candidates campaigning for these various offices, and that campaign ended yesterday. And today, there is a break tomorrow, we will start the last part of the elections process that is polling and the polling will take three days: 11, 12 and 13 April.”

Alier urged registered voters to go to the polling centers and cast their votes.

[Abel Alier]: “I would like to seize this opportunity to call upon the voter and through you the media, to convey this message. I ask the voter on behalf of the Commission to come out to vote. Just as the voter made every effort during the registration process where voters succeeded in attaining the highest registration rate in the history of the country and in many parts of the world, we are calling upon the voter to make every effort to come to cast his or her vote. And we call upon the citizens of this country to help encourage the voters to go to vote in the coming three days.”

He said the NEC wants to ensure that the results of the electoral process are free and fair.

[Abel Alier]: “We are committed to free and fair polling, we want to ensure that what we are doing will make it evident both to the voter, the ordinary citizen and to the world at large that this process of polling is going to be transparent as part of our commitment to free and fair elections and we want you, the media, to be with us in this. At this juncture, I would also like to mention my appreciation for the role played by the international community in assisting us in the process from May last year up to this moment, particularly the United Nations bodies.”

Alier said that more than 16 million people are expected to cast their vote during the polling period.
Former US President Jimmy Carter Congratulates NEC for Excellent Progress
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Saturday, 10 April 2010:
10 April 2010 - (Khartoum) – The former US President and the founder of the Carter Center, Jimmy Carter, says he is satisfied with the work of the National Elections Commission.

Carter made this statement to the press following his meeting with the NEC in Khartoum on Friday.

[Jimmy Carter]: “The representatives of the Carter Center have met with the NEC, and we had some questions to ask them and they answered all our questions satisfactorily, and they assured us that they are making excellent progress in the delivery of the elections material for the elections and we see no reason for any concern except in a few isolated stations way out where voter materials will be a little bit late, but they have three days at least to reach the voters. So we are satisfied with the decision made by the NEC. We are here to observe the process and we will make a report at the end.”

Last Tuesday, the SPLM’s secretary-general, Pagan Amum, had claimed that Carter Center staff had been expelled from nine states in northern Sudan and that Carter himself had threatened not to come to Sudan.

Carter said he was unaware of reports indicating that any of the center’s staff had been expelled from states in northern Sudan.

[Jimmy Carter]: “From northern Sudan? I don’t know of that. My son is going to Northern State, he is on his way there and I haven’t heard any reports about that. We had about twenty of our team this morning that left so they are on the way to be dispersed now.”

Regarding the electoral process in Darfur, Carter said his center would only comment on the election process after the elections had taken place.

[Jimmy Carter]: “We don’t have anything to report on the running of elections because they haven’t begun and we won’t make any assessment of the elections process until we make a panel decision and then we will have our press conference on the 17 April and that will be our first comment on the conduct of the elections.”

Former US President Jimmy Carter was talking to the press in Khartoum on Friday.
Alcohol Ban in Malakal As Some Traders Go On Holiday During Voting Period
SRS - Saturday, 10 April 2010 - (Malakal) - The governor of Upper Nile state, Dr. William Othon Awer has stressed that his government has taken measures to ensure good security and stability during the polling days in the state. Addressing people during a graduation of prison warders in Malakal on Friday, Awer denied rumors that some residents are leaving Malakal, for fear of insecurity. Awer has ordered bars and other places where alcoholic drinks are made or served to shut down until the end of polling. Our producer Hussein Halfawi in Malakal spoke to some traders in the area. Full story.

Yambio Residents Call on All Sudanese to Vote for Their Future
SRS - Saturday, 10 April 2010 - (Yambio) - As voting begins on Sunday 11 April all over Sudan, residents of Western Equatoria state expressed their readiness to vote in what for many will be the first democratic exercise of their lives. Southern Sudanese voters will be expected to complete twelve ballot papers in the voting period that will extend until 13 April. SRS took to the streets on Friday to find out how prepared residents are in Yambio and what these elections mean to them. Full story.

HEC Chair Warns Against Party T-Shirts and Violent Behaviour At Polling Stations
SRS - Saturday, 10 April 2010 - (Bentiu) - The chairman of the High Election Committee in Unity State is urging all candidates and their supporters not to turn up at the polling stations with their logos. Michael Mayor Chol was speaking during a press conference in Unity state on Friday. Chol also described the complaints procedure that will be put in place during the voting period. Unity state has more than 600 polling stations. Full story.

Some Foreigners Leave, Some Stay Behind on Eve of Elections
SRS - Saturday, 10 April 2010 - (Yambio) - Despite the fact that some foreigners have left southern Sudan because they anticipate election violence, some Ugandans, Somalis and Kenyans businessmen in Yambio say they will remain in southern Sudan throughout the elections. They expressed hope that the elections will be peaceful and that their businesses will continue doing well even after the elections. Here is David from Uganda. Full story.

Arman Withdrawal Causes Confusion Among SPLM Supporters in Khartoum
SRS - Saturday, 10 April 2010 (Khartoum) - The decision by the SPLM to withdraw its presidential candidate Yasir Arman from the presidential race has caused confusion among some young people in Khartoum. SRS spoke to a number of displaced youths from southern Sudan in Khartoum on Friday. Here, two young women explain how they feel about the SPLM decision to withdraw the Yasir Arman from the presidential race. Full story.

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