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'Millions registered to vote in Darfur': referendum team

February 26 - 2016 KHARTOUM
A poster for the Darfur referendum in a registration centre at Abu Shouk camp for the displaced near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)
A poster for the Darfur referendum in a registration centre at Abu Shouk camp for the displaced near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

The number of people in Darfur who registered to vote in the administrative referendum, scheduled for next April, has amounted to about 3.5 million people, according to the referendum commission. “All other arrangements are completed.”

On Thursday Omar Ali Jammaa, the chairman of the commission, said at a press conference in Khartoum that the number of those who registered “stands at 3,538,105 out of the about 4.588 million people who are eligible to vote in the region”.

Jammaa pointed out that the registration process for the referendum has taken them 15 days. The process included all localities of the five Darfur states and “has not witnessed any violations or complaints”.

Last week, authorities reportedly threatened to expel Darfuri residents of camps for displaced people in Saraf Omra, North Darfur, if they refuse to register themselves.

The chairman claimed that residents in Jebel Marra area, which is largely affected by the heavy government-rebel fighting that started on 15 January, have also registered.

“There have been no violations or complaints about the registration process.”

The registration for the referendum began on 8 February and will end on 20 March. About 1,400 registration and polling centres will be established in all 63 Darfur localities. The referendum offers two outcomes for the citizens of Darfur: for the region to return to one administrative unit or to continue as five separate states.

Darfuris in the camps for the displaced, Sudanese opposition parties, and civil society activists have expressed their grave concerns about holding an administrative referendum while the situation in the conflict-torn region is far from secure, and hundreds of thousands of people are surviving in camps. Allied opposition parties have announced plans to stage an anti-referendum campaign, and protests have been held by displaced people in camps in Darfur.


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