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Al-Bashir issues Referendum for Darfur

March 31 - 2011 Khartoum

Yesterday president Omar al-Bashir issued a decree to conduct an administrative referendum to determine the permanent status of Darfur. The referendum will  be held simultaneously in the three states of Darfur and will have two options; either to maintain the current status of the states, or the establishment of a Darfur province made up of several states. The decree stipulated the National Elections Commission to organize the referendum, supervise it and lay down the rules and procedures governing it.  

The JEM and the LJM factions which are present in the Doha Forum strongly rejected the Presidential Decree issued by Al-Bashir, calling it an attempt to end the Doha Forum.

Taj Al-Din Bashir Naiyam, the chief negotiator of the LJM considered the  decree a breach of the Framework Agreement between the government and LJM, which provided that any action on the administrative situation in Darfur should be resolved through negotiations.

The JEM also rejected the presidential decree to hold the referendum. Jibril Bilal, the spokesman of JEM told Radio Dabanga that the referendum cannot be held if only one party agrees. Besides that there are  practical difficulties like the deteriorating security situation and humanitarian situation. He finally questioned the integrity of the electoral commission, which commissioned the process.

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