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Sudan’s draft 2018 Electoral Bill faces stiff opposition

June 12 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Sudan's National Assembly (File photo)
Sudan's National Assembly (File photo)

The draft Electoral Bill for 2018 is facing stiff opposition from a broad spectrum of parties in parliament. On Monday, the Reform Now Movement party’s rejection of the draft electoral law expanded as the national dialogue forces began against the ruling majority of the National Congress Party (NCP) for bypassing their partners.

Hasan Osman Rizig, deputy head of the Reform Now Movement and leader of the National Alignment Forces told Radio Dabanga that the draft election law was prepared at night in isolation from the other parties participating in the dialogue as to carefully conceal it to be passed  by the National Congress through the Ministry of Justice and then to be approved by Parliament.

He said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the prime minister never mentioned in his reports about the existence of a committee that is preparing a law for the elections, in which way, the draft Bill will enable the NCP to control the ruling at the level of the centre and the states.

He said the law shall elect the president directly through the people while electing the governors through the state councils.

He explained that the system cannot be presidential at the centre and parliamentarian at the state level as what applies to the president must apply to the states.

He said that they have repeatedly demanded the establishment of a law for the elections, the formation of an electoral commission and the conduction of a census, but received no response in this regard.

He announced that they are against the law as it came out as a project now because it is contrary to what has been agreed on in the national dialogue, this along with constituting a big disadvantage that the president, a candidate, appoints an electoral commission and the head of the commission.

He added that also, as president of the NCP, he is not entitled to interfere in the formation of the electoral commission while his party is participating in the elections.

He said also the Bill allows the use of the national number or professional cards, such as the cards of lawyers to vote in the elections, which opens a wide door for fraud.

He added that the parties to the dialogue document would meet on Monday evening at the headquarters of the Popular Congress Party to deliberate on a specific position because the discussion of the law will begin on Tuesday in Parliament within the Committee on Legislation, Justice and Human Rights.

He said it is clear that the National Congress Party is in a hurry to pass the Bill as it is.

Draft Amendment

On Monday, the Minister of the Presidency of council filed to the Parliament a draft amendment of the new election law for the year 2018.

Parliament Speaker, Ibrahim Ahmed Omar, said after the filing that the law will be referred to the Legislative, Justice and Human Rights Committee to study it with the participation of all political and legal forces and all the components of Sudanese society during the period of adjournment of the Parliamentary sessions in the next three months, so as to submit it to Parliament in its next session for his approval early October.

He pointed out that the Parliament wants to be all political forces and components of society are compatible with the law before the passage of Parliament until the next elections in the year 2020 reassuring.

Communist Party of Sudan

The Communist Party of Sudan said that the new electoral law and the procedures for changing the constitution aim at creating conditions that allow the continuation of the status quo.

Saleh Mahmoud, a member of the party’s Central Committee, told Radio Dabanga that the party refuses the election law in principle not to participate in the 2020 elections because the experience have shown during the thirty years of the life of the salvation government refrain from participation in the absence of the rule of law, the fundamental freedoms and the control of the NCP over the media, the joints of the state and its organs.

He said not all these circumstances could not lead to fair and transparent elections that will change the situation and push the NCP away from power.

He said that the Communist Party is convinced that the government of the National Congress must be changed and that a transitional government be set up for four years with the task to sweep the regime’s effects and create a climate for free and fair elections in which all sectors of society participate throughout the Sudan including the war affected zones.

He explained that there are about four million displaced and refugees from their original area, and that they do not have geographical constituencies in the current situation, as most of them cannot return to their lands that have been seized by news settlers from abroad or inside them under the changes of demographic condition in many areas of Darfur. He added that no elections could be held without a new census to determine the whereabouts of those who are entitled to exercise their right to vote and produce their own identity papers, and that most of them have lost their cards due to war and displacement.

Popular Congress Party

The participating party in the government, the Popular Congress Party rejected the draft of the new election law for 2018, saying it is contrary to the outcomes of the dialogue and is being developed without the advice of the forces participating in the national reconciliation government.

 The Secretary of the Popular Congress Party, Dr Ali El Haj, said that the Cabinet rushed to discuss the draft law for approval and push it to Parliament for approval.

He stressed in a press conference that the popular would stand against the passage of the law, both in the Cabinet and the Parliament.

He said that on Monday a meeting would be held with the dialogue parties to adopt a unified position on the issue.

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