President Omar al-Bashir Wins Election in Sudan
April 28, 2010
By: Benjamin Russell | Printer Friendly
Results from Sudan’s first multi-party elections in 24 years suggested a solid victory for current president Omar al-Bashir, according to VOA News. Bashir, who faces a warrant from the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region, said the elections represented a "moral victory before the eyes of the world in a civilized, high class and shared manner."
After a series of delays, results of the national elections that took place in Sudan from April 11-15 were announced on April 25, confirming Bashir’s reelection with 68% of the vote. Salva Kiir, president of Sudan’s semi-autonomous southern region, also won reelection with a reported 93% of the vote. Kiir and Bashir are expected to form a coalition government ahead of a referendum on southern independence scheduled for 2011, according to the New York Times.
The vote, part of 2005’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement which led to partial autonomy of the country’s southern region, is seen as a key indicator for the future of democracy in Sudan and an “important step in carrying out the peace deal that ended Sudan’s north-south civil war,” according to BBC News.
Still, election officials faced heavy criticism from the international community, including the United States. Former southern rebels and political parties boycotted the elections over fears of manipulation by Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP). "The election has been rigged - continuously controlled by the National Congress and Bashir," said one opposition leader.
The release of the election results did little to quell allegations of foul play. "They cooked the figures -- (Bashir) didn't get 51 percent of the vote," UMMA Reform and Renewal leader Mubarak al-Fadil told Reuters. "His campaign was conducted under one party system with all the foundations of a police state ... it was a farce."
A statement released by the Paris-based organization Reporters without Borders, says access to the independent election-monitoring website, Sudan Vote Monitor, was blocked for several days surrounding the election. Sudan Vote Monitor had been independently monitoring the recent election and its results by allowing journalists, NGOs and citizens in Sudan to report on the voting process.
Voting irregularities were also noted in the South, where Lam Akol, head of the SPLM Democratic Change Party, claimed Kiir’s overwhelming victory was not an accurate reflection of public opinion.
The United States, Britain and Norway said in a statement that the elections were marred by poor preparation and suspected irregularities, and observers including the Carter Center added that the elections failed to meet international standards, according to VOA News. Nevertheless, the United States chose to reserve any official judgment of the elections until a joint review with the African Union could be conducted.
“If you read the report from the European Union observers of the elections in Sudan, they acknowledged that the elections were not perfect, but nobody expected them to be perfect. This is the first election in a quarter of a century, so there was no expectation of perfection. The expectation, however, was that it will be a peaceful election, it will be an exercise of democratic processes that then lay the foundation and clearing the way for referendum in 2011,” said Michael Battle, the United States’ envoy to the African Union.
BBC News – Southern Sudan Opposition Leader Contests Poll Result
New York Times – Sudan President Declared Poll Winner
BBC News – Sudan Extends Landmark Elections after Ballot Mix-ups
VOA News – Rights Activists Describe Sudanese Elections as Rigged, Say US Not Tough Enough
BBC News – Sudan Election Observer ‘Beaten Up’ in South
VOA News – Sudan Elections in Focus