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Carter on Sudan elections: ‘People’s expectations have not been met’

April 17 - 2010 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga)

The national elections have not taken place according to international standards for free and fair elections. That is the conclusion reached by the monitors of both the EU and the Carter Center. Former US President Jimmy Carter stated: “It is obvious that the elections will fall short of international standards that are expected of advanced democracies. The people’s expectations have not been met.” In a statement the Carter Center added: “It is apparent that the elections will fall short of meeting international standards and Sudan’s obligations for genuine elections in many respects. Unfortunately, many political rights and freedoms were circumscribed for most of this period, fostering distrust among the political parties. Ultimately the success of the elections will depend on whether Sudan’s leaders take action to promote lasting democratic transformation.”  Also the head of the EU monitoring team, Veronique de Keyser, a Member of the European Parliament, told the press that Sudan “has not yet met the standards required.” The EU mentioned specifically the missing names from voter registries, that election resources were not evenly spread to all parts of the country and that there were cases of voter intimidation. She says the elections paved the way towards democracy. The EU monitors were not able to do monitoring in Darfur due to security risks. Her remarks came despite earlier statements that  the EU would not present partial conclusions but only make comprehensive recommendations based on exhaustive facts and information, once the entire process is over. Therefore, the mission will stay in the country until after the elections in order to present its first conclusions once the post-election counting period is closed. The EU mission with 130 observers has been the largest international observer group in Sudan for these elections. The EU also contributed financially to their preparation. De Keyser found the turn out of 60% of the registered voters ‘very high’, but with significant deficiencies. 16 million people were registered as voters in a country with an estimated population of over 40 million people. The EU uses different figures than the High Elections Commission that stated that on the third election day already over 65% had cast their vote. There is no explanation for the big discrepancies. The first results announced by NCP and some election commissioners suggest a victory for president Omar Al Bashir of the NCP. In the previous elections some years ago, he won with over 94% of the votes.

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