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Sudan: Counting of Ballots Starts in Sudan

Khartoum — The counting of the ballots started on Friday, after the presidential and parliamentary election, extended with a fourth day on Thursday, was concluded. The National Election Commission (NEC) will announce the results on 27 April.

The chairman of the AU Election Observation Mission, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, confirmed the weak turnout at a press conference in Khartoum on Friday.

He attributed the turnout of less than 40 percent to the boycott organised by the Sudanese opposition and civil society, and said that he hoped that the election results would not affect the National Dialogue process.

Obasanjo told BBC Radio that one third of the registered voters had cast their ballots, and said that one of the reasons for the low participation rate could be that the people expected the results to be predetermined. He pointed out that the credibility of the election would have been improved if the government had granted the Sudanese people more freedoms.

Leave! campaign

According to the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), the anti-election campaign achieved an unprecedented success.

The head of the Sudanese Congress Party, Ibrahim El Sheikh, told Radio Dabanga that the extremely low voter turnout, despite the extension of the polling time, shocked the regime. He called on the Sudanese population to launch an uprising, “before the regime recovers from the blow.”

The Democratic Unionist Party said in a statement on Friday that the “Sudanese opposed [the ruling party] with noble silence, when they rejected those false and destructive election. They showed them that they are ready for an uprising.”

Cases of forgery

The National Election Commission acknowledged the occurrence of fraud in some of the country’s polling centres.

Yet, representatives of political parties and others reported forgery on a large scale in many states. They complained that people affiliated with the ruling National Congress Party voted more than once, by using residence affidavits issued by the Popular Committees in the neighbourhoods.

Voting abroad

On Friday, the NEC announced the start of the voting process in seven centres in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, the UK, and Belgium.

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