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Referendum outcome dissolves Darfur Authority

April 26 - 2016 KHARTOUM
DRA Chairman El Tijani Sese (L) and Amin Hassan Omar, Head of the Darfur Peace Follow-up Office at a press conference in Khartoum in 2015 (Sudan Vision Daily)
DRA Chairman El Tijani Sese (L) and Amin Hassan Omar, Head of the Darfur Peace Follow-up Office at a press conference in Khartoum in 2015 (Sudan Vision Daily)

The Sudanese government has officially announced that the term of the Darfur Regional Authority, headed by El Tijani Sese, will not be extended following the conclusion of the administrative referendum last weekend, and the win of the ‘states option’.

The Commission for the Administrative Referendum of Darfur has announced that the option for the separation of the five Darfur states attracted nearly 98 percent (3,081,976) of the votes cast in the 11-13 April referendum, as opposed to just 2 percent (71,920) choosing the option to unify the states.

During a press conference on Monday, the head of the Darfur Peace Follow-Up Office, Amin Hassan Omar, said that they have informed the Arab ambassadors in Khartoum that the Darfur Regional Authority’s (DRA) commissions for the return of refugees, border issues, and other commissions will be handed over to the care of the Presidency of the Republic.

The DRA was established to serve as the major body for implementing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed between the government of Sudan and the former rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in 2011. One of its core responsibilities was monitoring development projects.

The chairman of the Darfur Peace Council, Adam Shogar, called for an increase in the number of states in Darfur, which now remains at five. Shogar told Sudan News Agency that he proposed the establishment of a new state in North Darfur with the name Wadi Hawar.

Controversial

The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed in 2011, stipulated the holding of the referendum, as a way for the region ’s citizens to define the permanent administrative status. A polling result against the unification meant that the region would remain divided in five states, that the transitional Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) will be dissolved, and that Khartoum presumably gains more power over Darfur.

A result in favour of the unification would have led to the creation of a regional government, as five states joined into one semi-autonomous Darfur state.

The landslide win of the states option, that was announced last Saturday, has been rejected by a chorus of descent from the displaced, refugees, civil society organisations, armed movements, and political forces from across Darfur, who claim the referendum to be controversial.


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