Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sudanese general election February 10, 2010 (Update 2)

News just in from Sudan Radio Service:
Thursday, 02 April 2009 - (Khartoum) – The National Election Commission has announced that the Sudanese general elections, originally scheduled for July 2009, will now take place on February 10th 2010.
Update from Nichola Domic Mandil, for Sudan Radio Service, in Khartoum.
02 April 2009 - (Khartoum) – Sudan Radio Service Khartoum’s bureau producer, Nichola Dominic Mandil, attended an NEC press conference on Thursday, where the new date was announced. He outlined the proposed time-frame for the elections:

“September 1st shall be the starting date for nominations. On 3rd September, nominations at all election levels will be accepted. For the President of the Republic, President of the Government of southern Sudan, state governors, the Legislative Assembly and the state assemblies. The 6th November shall be the last day for nomination applications. Between 10th and 27th November, final nominations will be published. The election campaign will take place from 31st November to 2nd February 2010. Polling will start on 6th of February 2010. Polling will end on 21st February 2010. The final results will be announced on 27th of February 2010. The total election period will last 10 months and 7 days.”
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Update. From Sudan Radio Service, Friday, 3 April 2009:
2 April 2009 - (Khartoum) -The general elections scheduled for July this year have been postponed until February 2010.

Addressing a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday, the chairman of National Elections’ Commission, Mawlana Abel Alier, said citizens need more time to be educated on election-related issues.

He added that the commission also needs more time to ensure adequate preparations are made before polling day.

[Abel Alier]: “The time-frame for the elections process is very important. It starts with the demarcation of constituencies and goes on to voter registration and then after that to see whether the registration of voters is done correctly, inclusively and if anybody has any complaints. If they have, they can take it to the courts and the courts are ready to look into complaints concerning the process of voter registration. That also takes some time, because we feel guided by the elections law and by the constitution and by the CPA. The voter has to be sufficiently educated so that he can decide whom to vote for and he can do that freely, it is his right, it is his human right and it is his political right.”

Alier said that political parties will also have more time to campaign.

He added that the commission had several issues to address which would have never have been resolved by July.

[Abel Alier]: “We started our work at the beginning of this year when we were appointed by the parliament and by the executive, by the president of the republic. Since the beginning of the year, we have tried to lay down the infrastructure for the working of the NEC, we had to set up a secretariat, we had to make a budget and we had to go through the normal process of budget making and because the NEC is an independent institution, we had to discuss with the presidency our proposed budget for fiscal year 2009. We also discussed the same proposed budget with the Ministry of Finance - but I think this is not what you, the public, want to know, what you want to know is whether the elections are going to take place and when.”

The deputy chairman of NEC, Professor Abdalla Ahmed Abdalla, said that the coming general elections will be “free and fair” in order to achieve the “ultimate objective of democratic transformation in the country”.

[Professor Abdalla Ahmed]: “The main objective of the CPA and what the two partners [the national congress party and the Sudan people’s liberation movement] agreed on was ‘democratic transformation’ through “just, free and fair elections”. This concept is the one that guides us to achieve the comprehensiveness of this process. You all know that most of the things within the implementation process delayed even the election law which guides us. Even the formation of the NEC which is now sitting in front of you was delayed and even the council for political parties affairs. We are looking at the “comprehensiveness” of the process and our understanding of comprehensiveness is what the people of Sudan and the two partners agreed in Naivasha, they agreed on democratic transformation”.

He said the NEC will ensure that the elections will be successful, in order to promote democracy in Sudan.
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2 April 2009 - (Khartoum) - The postponement of the general elections until February 2010 has provoked vigorous reactions across the political spectrum in Sudan.

Speaking to Sudan Radio Service by phone from Khartoum on Friday, the National Congress Party political relations secretary, Dr. Mohamed Al-Mahdi Mandor, outlined his party's attitude to the decision.

[Dr. Mohamed Al-Mahdi Mandor] “Our stand as NCP, the National Congress Party, is that we respect this independent organ that has been formed according to the constitution. We have always said that we want the elections to be conducted in the time-frame decided by the constitution but nevertheless, we respect the schedule that has been declared by the electoral commission and we hope that this will be convenient for the other Sudanese political parties. We, in the National Congress Party, we are obliged to work with our partners, especially the SPLA and the SPLM, so as to create a conducive atmosphere for the organization of these elections.”

The spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, Yien Mathew, suggested that there were ulterior motives behind the postponement.

[Yien Mathew] “This is a part of a tactic by the National Congress Party. First of all it delayed the results of the census and then it delayed the demarcation of the borders between south and north, which resulted in the delay of the elections. Because if you look at the CPA, you would conclude that the elections should commence in July 2009. However, because of the aforementioned stated reasons, the commission was not able to set a timetable for July or August. The SPLM is ready, even if the election is to commence tomorrow, we are ready. We hope that more arbitration or alterations are not done so that it doesn’t contradict with the time of the referendum.”

Yien Mathew was speaking to Sudan Radio Service by phone from Juba on Friday.

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