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AU deploys election observers to various states in Sudan

April 13 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Police officers forces at a polling station this morning, on the first day of the general election (Mosa'ab ElshamyAP)
Police officers forces at a polling station this morning, on the first day of the general election (Mosa'ab ElshamyAP)

The African Union (AU) launched its election monitoring in Sudan on 10 April with the deployment of 20 short-term observers from 14 African countries, representing institutions such as the Pan-African Parliament, Election Management Bodies, and civil society organisations.

The observers are deployed in teams of two to cover seven states in the country, the AU Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) said in its arrival statement today.

At the invitation from the Sudanese government, the chairwoman of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, approved the deployment of the AUEOM to Sudan to observe the presidential and parliamentary elections, on 13-15 April.

The observer mission is led by former Nigerian president Olusengun Obasanjo, “who arrives in Khartoum on 13 April to interact with key stakeholders and observe the voting and counting process”, the statement reads.

The AUEOM’s mandate is derived from the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the 2002 AU/OAU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, and the 2002 AU Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions.

The Mission will issue a statement of its preliminary assessment of the election during a press conference at the Corinthia Hotel in Khartoum on 16 April. A final and comprehensive report will be released within two months from the date of announcement of final election results.

AU monitoring ‘unacceptable’

Ahmed Hussain Adam, a prominent Darfuri scholar, called the AU decision to send an electoral monitoring mission “a very regrettable move and utterly unacceptable”.

In a statement received by Radio Dabanga on Thursday, 9 April, he said that the decision “clearly violates the very principles and guidelines of the AU in this regard, including the AU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa of 2002.

“The Declaration sets out clear guidelines, principles and conditions for free and fair elections. None of those principles and guidelines, enshrined by the Declaration, are met by Sudan’s government.

“Unless the AU reverses it decision about monitoring Al Bashir’s elections, the AU will be a part of the problem, and consequently undermines its role in Sudan,” he stressed.

No EU support

The EU refrained from sending observers, referring to the absence of a "conducive environment" for the election.

“The people of Sudan deserve better. We therefore chose not to engage in support of these elections," EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement on Thursday.

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