Wednesday, April 07, 2010

SPLM said it would boycott all elections in the north, except the central states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where it said it was sure to win

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir today claimed - just days ahead of national elections - that Khartoum was delaying demarcating the north-south border to try to retain control over oil reserves.

The SPLM said it would boycott all elections in the north, except the central states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where it said it was sure to win, despite the widespread fraud they accuse the NCP of committing.

Salva Kiir warns of Khartoum 'oil grab'
From News wires 07 April 2010 11:28 GMT (via upstream online):
Analysts said a failure to resolve the border issue between the former north-south foes could spark renewed conflict if the problem is not sorted before Africa's largest country holds a January 2011 referendum on independence for the south.

Last night Kiir's ex-rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) said it would boycott Sudan's 11 April national elections, accusing Khartoum of widespread fraud.

"Why it is not demarcated is because there is oil and the north wants to take the oil, they want also to take the agricultural land we have so it becomes their land," Reuters quoted Kiir telling voters at a rally in the southern Lakes State.

Sudan's potential 500,000 barrels per day of oil from wells mostly in the south inflamed a 22-year-long civil war between the SPLM and the northern National Congress Party which ended with a 2005 peace deal.

Under the accord, south Sudan receives about 50% of government oil revenues from wells in the south but the opaque distribution of cash has been a source of much contention.

Oil revenues accounts for an estimated 98% of semi-autonomous south Sudan's budget. Many of the oilfields lie on the north-south border.

Analysts said the north-south border demarcation is key to successful talks between the two sides on post-referendum wealth sharing of oil and water from the River Nile.

Hundreds of supporters greeted Kiir on the campaign trail for the south Sudanese presidency, waving banners and kicking up dust in celebratory dances in the small Yirol town, which has few permanent buildings like much of the south devastated by the war. Several white bulls were slaughtered in his honour.

The SPLM said it would boycott all elections in the north, except the central states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where it said it was sure to win, despite the widespread fraud they accuse the NCP of committing.

The move has sparked confusion among Sudan's opposition. Some have also boycotted but others are continuing in the race, although they all agreed with the concerns over irregularities.

Kiir also accused Sudan's President Omar Hassan al Bashir of refusing to form commissions to oversee the southern referendum and another vote for the citizens of the oil-rich Abyei area to choose whether to join the north or south.

"They don't want the south to stand alone," he said, speaking in his native Dinka, the language of the south's largest tribe. "The intention is to take over the land so they will control everything."
SPLM Boycotts Elections in 13 of 15 Northern States
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service:
7 April 2010 - ( Khartoum) – The SPLM has announced that it is boycotting elections in 13 states in northern Sudan due to what it calls “widespread rigging” of elections by the National Congress Party.

SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum addressed a press conference in Khartoum on Tuesday night.

[Pagan Amum]: “I would like to inform you that our committee that was set up by the leadership of the SPLM yesterday [Monday] has finished its meeting with the leaders of SPLM in the Northern Sector and after reviewing all the reports from all the thirteen states of the Northern Sector, we have arrived at a conclusion and a decision to boycott elections in the thirteen states of northern Sudan. These include the three states of Darfur because in Darfur, war still continues and the state of emergency is imposed. It is impossible to conduct free and fair elections in a state of emergency as it is continuing there. The SPLM calls for an end to the war in Darfur and the end of the state of emergency so that the people of Darfur can participate in the elections in an environment of freedom where they can choose their own government in their states as well as participate in the elections of their government at the national level.”

Amum called on SPLM supporters to completely boycott parliamentary and governorship elections in the thirteen states in northern Sudan.

[Pagan Amum]: “The SPLM is boycotting elections in the remaining states of northern Sudan which are: the Northern State, Nile Valley State, Khartoum State, Al-Gazira State, Northern Kordofan State, White Nile State, Sennar State, Gadarif State, Kassala State and Red Sea State. We boycott these elections and the SPLM will continue calling for free and fair elections, calling for the handing over of political power to the Sudanese people through free and fair elections. And therefore our boycott continues. We will be calling on our people to boycott these elections until an environment for free and fair elections, where our people can choose their government, is created.”

He added that though the SPLM is boycotting elections in thirteen states in northern Sudan, the SPLM will take part in elections in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan and southern Sudan.

The Sudan general elections are scheduled to take place on 11th, 12th and 13th April 2010.
Upcoming Sudanese Elections Reflect Complex Political Problems
From Vatican Radio:
(07 Apr 10 - RV) The credibility of Sudan’s first multiparty elections in years continues to be cast in doubt, with Southern Sudan's main political party announcing it will boycott the ballot appointment scheduled for the weekend. The Sudanese People's Liberation Movement says it is withdrawing its candidates from the northern states for the April 11 vote, which includes local as well as parliamentary and presidential polls, because of alleged government control of the media and biased legislation that make an honest vote impossible.

Fr. Sean O’Leary of the South Africa-based Denis Hurley Peace Institute told us the elections are only one element in a very large and complex political problem facing the entire region.

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