Umma Party opposes ruling party’s Darfur referendum plan
The National Umma Party opposes the plan to hold a referendum on the ‘administrative status’ of Darfur. The National Congress Party wants a plebiscite on whether the region should be united into one province or to remain divided as three state governments.
The National Umma Party opposes the plan to hold a referendum on the ‘administrative status’ of Darfur. The National Congress Party wants a plebiscite on whether the region should be united into one province or to remain divided as three state governments. Rebels from the region reject the plan as a way to subvert the Doha peace negotiations, during which they have demanded a single region, Greater Darfur. The Umma Party, which formerly counted Darfur an electoral stronghold, now likewise prefers an ‘administrative decision’ on the matter rather than a vote.
An Umma Party figure revealed that they would ask the National Congress Party during dialogue sessions between the two parties to cancel all the procedures relating to conduct of the referendum. Siddig Ismail, Secretary General of the Party and Chairman of the Negotiating Committee, told Radio Dabanga that the party would demand the restoration of Darfur to the status of a province through an administrative decision and not a referendum. He considered that the issue of the province would aggravate ethnic tensions during the referendum.
The Sudanese government legitimizes the planned referendum on the grounds of the Abuja Peace Agreement, which called for the poll. However, Siddig Ismail pointed out that the peace deal is “gone with the wind” (the deal was never implemented and the main signatories are again at war).
According to Professor Abdulrahman Bushara Dossa, the referendum would increase the complexity of the crisis in Darfur. He described the proposed measure as illegitimate and called for resolving the issue through negotiation and listening to stakeholders. Dossa expressed amazement at the government’s other proposal to add two new states within Darfur. He questioned why the government does not create more states in other parts of Sudan, but rather only in Darfur.
Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice President of the Republic, during a meeting with the Electoral Commission held the day before, directed the Commission to initiate the technical procedures relating to the preliminary proceedings and plan for the Darfur Referendum process according to the jurisdiction and powers mandated to the commission.