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SPLM withdraws from presidential race, boycotts Darfur elections

April 1 - 2010 JUBA

The SPLM has withdrawn its candidate for the presidency, Yassir Arman. In Darfur the SPLM will have a complete boycott of the elections at all levels. The SPLM announced it will continue participating in the elections for the National Assembly and at the state level. The opposition parties in the North will decide today whether they will boycott the elections.  They seemed very surprised by the decison of the SPLM to withdraw Yassir Arman. Some parties assume that the SPLM made a secret deal with President Bashir not to postpone the referendum in early 2011. The South will most likely vote for separation from the North.

SPLM Vice Chairman Riek Machar (photo) blamed the National Congress Party of President Omar al Bashir for the massive irregularities during the voter’s registration and during the electoral campaign. He told the media: ‘We decided that Yassir should end his campaign for the presidency of the Republic’. The other national opposition parties will decide today whether they will follow the stand of the SPLM by also withdrawing from the presidential race. Even so, the collective opposition will seek to win the offices of governor in the two major economic centers of Sudan, Khartoum and Port Sudan (Red Sea State). A potential victory in these states will significantly reduce the economic powers behind the ruling party of President Omar Al Bashir. The elections in Southern Kordofan will be postponed, as agreed by the National Election Commission. The highly contested state, which includes the Nuba Mountains and part of Abyei, will first have another population count (census). Based on the results new boundaries for the geographic constituencies will be drawn and elections will follow.

The International Crisis Group has published a report stating that the voter registration was entirely flawed. The report is based on independent sources and monitors. The flawed results of a population count were used to draw electoral districts, apportion seats in the national and state legislatures and organize the voter registration drive. Census takers – aided by NCP party organisers – expended evidently disproportionate efforts to count supporters in Southern Darfur (mostly inhabited by Arabs), nomads of Northern Darfur and some tribes loyal to the party. They also reportedly counted newcomers from Chad and Niger, who had settled in areas originally inhabited by persons displaced in the Darfur conflict, and issued them identity papers so they can vote as Sudanese citizens. However, most of the estimated 2.6 million internally displaced (IDPs) living in camps, as well as people from groups hostile to the NCP living in insecure neighbourhoods of cities and rebel-controlled areas, were not counted, the ICG concluded. The IDPs, who suffered from seven years of civil war against Khartoum, were not likely to support the NCP.

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