(By Radio Dabanga)
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement will boycott the national elections in the North at all levels it told Radio Dabanga. Previously it had announced a nationwide boycott of the presidential elections and a boycott of the polling in Darfur. Today the SPLM extended their withdrawal to all levels of voting in nearly all states of North Sudan, with exception of Southern Blue Nile and later South Kordofan.Today, the NCP of President Omar Al Bashir has criticized the latest decision of the SPLM. The new development leaves Bashir without serious contestants after he refused earlier to agree with the opposition to delay the elections. One of the opposition parties of ex-prime minister Sadiq al Mahdi, the Umma Party, is considering to take part in the elections at all levels. He was ousted in 1989 by a military coup led by president Bashir. He might try taking over the position of a breakaway party – Umma Reform – that is led by his cousin. His cousin initially joined Bashir’s government, but ran into a disagreement and quitted the government. According to local reports Sadiq al Mahdi is heading for a deal with the NCP of Bashir.
In their meeting on Tuesday in Khartoum, SPLM party leaders settled on a comprehensive boycott, according to one of the participants who spoke to Radio Dabanga by phone during the meeting. Those attending the meeting included SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amun, (former) presidential candidate Yassir Arman, other candidates and leaders of SPLM Northern Sector. The chairman of the party, Salva Kiir Mayardit, was not present. The boycott will apply to 13 states in North Sudan. Pagan Amum told reporters after the meeting that the decision excluded two states who are according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement considered part of the North: Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The party had already given indications that it would run candidates in the border state of Blue Nile. In South Kordofan, local elections were scheduled to take place two months after the national general election anyway. SPLM will continue to contest elections in South Sudan where it is the ruling party. In 2011 the dominant wing of the party is expected to campaign for South Sudan’s independence during a referendum guaranteed under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.