Almost 75 pct sign up for Sudan elections


Almost three quarters of adults in Sudan have registered to take part in the country’s first multi-party elections in 24 years, officials said.

The oil-producing country is due to hold national elections in April under a troubled peace deal that ended more than two decades of north-south civil war.

Opposition groups have made allegations of widespread fraud during the five-week registration period that ended on Monday and observers from the Carter Centre last week warned some states might fail to sign up half of eligible voters.

Sudan’s elections commission told Reuters 14,020,482 people had registered to vote at the start of Monday and it was expecting that to climb to 14,200,000 as final figures came in.
“That constitutes 73 percent of people who are eligible for registration people who are more than 18 years old,” said commission deputy chair Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah.
“This is a good result by any standards. Don’t know how the Carter Centre came up with such a forecast.”

Joint UN/African Union peacekeepers said there had been a large turnout to register to vote in Zamzam displacement camp near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, earlier this week.
“Women and youth, in particular, were well represented,” said a statement from the UNAMID force. “However, registration teams expressed concern that many IDPs (internally displaced persons) might not have been able to register before the closing, leaving them without a voice in next year’s ballot.”

The poll has already been hit by delays, and opposition parties have threatened to boycott the vote.

Supporters of opposition parties and the main political force in south Sudan demonstrated in Khartoum on Monday, demanding a raft of democratic reforms ahead of the ballot.

Abdullah said there had been variations from state to state, although he did not have an exact breakdown of figures.

Observers have said there are particular fears over registration levels in strife-torn Darfur, where more than six years of fighting has displaced large parts of the population, and remote part of south Sudan.