The Umma Party announced on Wednesday evening a boycott of Sudan’s elections at all levels. The party is one of the oldest and largest opposition parties in North Sudan. It joins the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in a comprehensive boycott of polling in North Sudan.
The leadership of the party had held two days of meetings in Khartoum, several times delaying their decision. Some observers thought that Umma Party would reverse the boycott decision that they made last Thursday. Opposition parties had announced on Thursday a boycott of the presidential race, giving the next day a list of eight demands for their participation. They wanted a four week delay. The Umma Party perhaps could have been rewarded with ministerial appointments for its participation but instead it now joins the boycott.
The National Congress Party played down the significance of the Umma Party for the elections. Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, political secretary of the party, said the Umma's withdrawal will not affect the electoral process and stressed that what matters to the National Conference is that citizens to go to the polls.
At this point, the main parties contesting the race are the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the National Congress Party (NCP) of President Omar Al Bashir, and the Popular Congress Party of Bashir’s erstwhile political ally Hassan Al Turabi.