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Elections in Sudan ended; Darfur officials fill remaining ballots themselves

April 15 - 2010 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga)

The last election day in Sudan has been with full of tension, violence and irregularities. From tomorrow onwards the counting will start. The National Election Commission predicted the first results for Tuesday. In Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman, security agents were beating and arresting some members of the protest group Girifna. In West Darfur, Radio Dabanga could confirm that election officials in Kerinek (constituency 5, Abu Rameel polling center) filled out the remaining ballots themselves even though the center was empty of voters. The opposition PCP filed an official complaint. After midday two activists in Omdurman near Khartoum were attacked by a group of NCP party officials, while the police personnel watched without taking action, Najla Seed Ahmad of Girifna told Radio Dabanga. Also Bakri Ahmad Weda-talla, a youth activist, was hit. They said they were reporting voting irregularities in Omdurman- Umdada district, Alamir 1 constituency. According to them, this is a stronghold of the opposition. “We refused to be taken to an undisclosed location, so they brought us to the nearest police station. We called the press and international media. First they charged us with kidnapping, but now they said it was indecent behavior,” Najla Seed explained. In Darfur and in Atbara on the last day of voting the NCP did not even hide anymore the use of fake ballots (sample ballots) carried around by party members.

New elections required at several places

The head of state election commissions in Kolbus, Geneina, Zalingei and some other places in South Kordofan have called for renewed elections due to the numerous irregularities. Some popular local politicians’ names did not appear on the ballots at all or were printed with the wrong party-symbols. Fraud charges on the final day of the Darfur election appeared in all three Darfur states. On the final day of voting in Darfur, election officials are accused of having filled ballots fraudulently and having moved polling stations without informing observers.

Monitors heading home

Many of the international monitors were already heading for Khartoum Airport on the last election day. Most were stuck in the Sudanese capital due to flight restrictions in Europe after a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Hundreds of the monitors were already leaving before the counting of votes started.

Low turnout

The turnouts in South Kordofan, Darfur and even in Khartoum have been reportedly very low. The Radio Dabanga reporters repeatedly said that few voters took advantage of day five of the national election day. Reuters reported that in ZamZam camp south of El Fasher 3000 people had cast their vote. Zam Zam is home to approximately 110,000 internally displaced people.

Southern election officials want money

In South Sudan poll officials said their concerns on contracts and allowances have not been addressed as the voting exercise was ending with the final phase of counting of the votes. According to Gurtong, the State High Elections Committee had provided each polling center with 100 Sudanese Pounds to provide for all seven staff per centre from the first day of polling. During the initial communication with the elections office in Juba, the polling officials were, however, promised 75 Sudanese Pounds per day for the station heads while the polling clerks were each to receive 65 Sudanese Pounds per day during their 10 days of work.

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