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Boycotted Electoral Act is ‘unanimously approved’: Al Bashir

November 23 - 2018 KHARTOUM
A parliamentary session in Khartoum (file photo)
A parliamentary session in Khartoum (file photo)

The new Electoral Act is “unanimously” approved despite the walk-out of more than 100 Members of Parliament in the parliamentary session this week, according to President Omar Al Bashir.

In a first reaction to the passage of the new Electoral Act, Al Bashir said that the parliament had “unanimously passed the act” through the ruling National Congress Party using its “mechanical majority”.

The withdrawal of more than 100 MPs representing 34 parties and independent MPs has caused a stir in Sudanese media, as boycotters included both opposition members as well as party members allied to the NCP.

Al Bashir said in a statement yesterday that the amendment of the Electoral Act is “the result of consultations and deliberations among all political forces in our country on the issuance of an act for the organisation of free and fair elections in 2020”.

Opposers and supporters

However, parties have continued to criticise the passage of the amendments. One of them include the expansion to three days of the electoral process rather than one day, which opens the door wide to fraud, according to the opposition Popular Congress Party.

The Sudanese Congress Party, the National Umma Party, the Reform Now Movement, Change Now, the Future Forces alliances, as well as the armed movements including the Justice and Equality Movement have categorically rejected the act in separate statements.

The National Liberation and Justice Party led by Dr Tijani Sese, the Beja Congress Party and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Second Revolution led by Abugasim Imam, have issued statements supporting the act.

Mastour Ahmed, the deputy president of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) said: “The act passed by the parliament of the regime confirms that it is designed to falsify the will of the Sudanese, as well as the absurdity of the head of the regime, who always refrains from his commitment to the integrity of the elections.”

As for the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), its spokesman said that with the passage of the act “the regime has blocked the way to any talk about the political settlement of the country’s problems, dialogue with the opposition, and it has put the negotiations with the armed forces at stake.”

Re-appointment Al Bashir

Al Bashir has been in power since 1989 after a military coup on an elected government. “In 2020, there will be a new president and I will be an ex-president, God willing,” he told the BBC in an interview in April 2016. His statements then repeated his declared intention to step down in 2015. But his NCP insisted he continued in office, which he did after the elections that resulted in the favour of the ruling party.

On August 9, however, the ruling National Congress Party appointed President Omar Al Bashir as its presidential candidate in the 2020 election, in spite of the country’s constitution restriction to two terms. The nomination therefore requires constitutional amendments.

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