Monitoring the Sudanese Elections

The Carter Center: ” it is apparent that the elections will fall short of meeting international standards and Sudan’s obligations for genuine elections in many respects. Nonetheless, the elections are important as a key benchmark in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and because of the increased political and civic participation that has occurred over the last several months

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development: “Taking into account that the Sudan is undertaking a massive exercise for the first time in 24 years, the vast size of the country and the challenges of infrastructure, our preliminary assessment is that the election process was credible. This is in view of promoting a peaceful and democratic transformation of the country. The Mission observed that the NEC was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work and the resulting technical problems. Notwithstanding the unexpected workload, it made all efforts to rectify the situation for the process to proceed.”

The European Union: “The election process suffered from unprecedented complexity in its design and, consequently, from confusion in its implementation. The campaign was dominated by the two ruling parties. In the north reduced competition came from a late withdrawal of the opposition and diminished expectations. In the south there was greater competition but a less controlled environment leading to more confusion, clashes and intimidation. However these elections have shown the interest of the Sudanese people in entering upon democratic transformation.”

Sudanese Civil Society: “All these failures led to the corruption of the election process and opened the door wide to malpractice and fraud. The overarching theme of the current elections is one of severe moral and professional failure by the NEC which impaired its management of fair and free elections.”

African Union: “…the elections constitute an important milestone in the country’s democratisation process. Given Sudan’s history, its current and immense challenges on many fronts, the just-completed elections though imperfect are historic and are building-block for the future elections.”

The consensus seems to be that the elections were flawed but they still constitute an important step in Sudan’s democratic transition. As a benchmark in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, they were crucial to the survival of Sudan itself. Comments about the vigour of an emerging civil society are particularly encouraging. However, there is no doubt that there could only be one winner from such a flawed process. No-one is under any illusions that this was a model election. That has led to a vocal round of criticism.

US Slams Irregularities in Sudan Election: “Political rights and freedoms were circumscribed throughout the electoral process, there were reports of intimidation and threats of violence in South Sudan, ongoing conflict in Darfur did not permit an environment conducive to acceptable elections, and inadequacies in technical preparations for the vote resulted in serious irregularities,” the White House said in a statement.

Save Darfur: “Reports by the Carter Center and European Union election observation missions make clear the Sudanese election was not conducted under conditions that were free and fair and which reflect the true will of the Sudanese people,” said Mark Lotwis, Acting President of the Save Darfur Coalition. “The Obama administration must lead the world in condemning this election as illegitimate and that Omar al-Bashir is not a legitimately elected leader.”

The Ugly Election: “The ugly result of the election was determined long ago by the material forces that have driven Sudanese political life for the best part of forty years.”

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