May 15, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – North Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) candidate, Ahmad Haroun, has been officially declared winner of gubernatorial elections in the country’s central state of South Kordofan, as the main opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) asserted its non-recognition of the result.
- South Kordofan’s governor, Ahmed Haroun, speaks to the press after casting his vote during the election for governor and regional assembly for the Sudanese oil-producing northern state in Kadugli on May 2, 2011 (Getty Images)
The largely peaceful conduct of legislative and gubernatorial elections in South Kordofan, which lies at the center of Sudan’s north-south axis, was subsequently dented by disagreements during vote-counting, leading to the withdrawal on Friday of the SPLM, which claimed that the vote was rigged in favour of the NCP and its candidate.
In a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday, the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced that Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes allegedly committed in the country’s westernmost region of Darfur, defeated his closest challenger and SPLM’s candidate Abdul Aziz Al-Hilu by 6,500 votes.
The NEC, which administered the vote, also announced that the NCP had won 33 seats in the state’s legislative assembly whereas the SPLM won 21 seats.
According to the commission, the NCP won elections in 22 geographic constituencies whereas the SPLM won in 10 constituencies. NEC further said that the two rivals had evenly split women seats as well as eight seats determined by proportional representation.
Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah, NEC’s deputy chairman, said that the result was fair, expressing confidence that local and international observers would attest to the integrity of the process.
Meanwhile, the United Nation Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which was established in 2005 to monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan, welcomed the completion of South Kordofan elections in a press release seen by Sudan Tribune.
UNMIS said that the vote was conducted in a peaceful manner and monitored by a large number of observers.
But the mission fell short of endorsing the result, saying that it did not observe the elections but had provided logistical and technical support. UNMIS went on to urge all parties “to continue to maintain peace following the announcement of the results today,” adding that complaints regarding the election process should be addressed through legal means or dialogue.
Ahmad Haroun convened a press conference following the announcement of the result at the NCP’s office in South kordofan’s town of Kadugli. Haroun said he was keen on the inclusion of all political parties in the government he intends to form.
“We hold out our hands in good faith to the SPLM to participate in the next government,” Haroun said.
But the SPLM quickly dismissed the offer, vowing to resist the “rigged” result. Qamar Dalman, the SPLM’s media secretary, said that the SPLM remain committed to its position on rejecting the outcome. He further said that the announcement of the “rigged” result had offended all ethnic groups in South Kordofan, adding that the people of South Kordofan would resist this outcome through peaceful means.
Dalman accused the NCP of playing on ethnic fault lines, calling on the Nuba individuals within the NCP to reconsider their positions because part of the struggle is moving on ethnic lines.
The heavily-militarised region of South Kordofan struggles the divide between Arab tribes and Nuba population. South Kordofan saw fierce battles during the protracted years of civil wars between north and south Sudan, which ended with the signing of the CPA in 2005.
The state is crucial to the NCP because of its oilfields and proximity to south Sudan, which voted in a referendum held in January to secede from the north and form an independent state whose official birth is 9 July this year.
South Kordofan is meant to hold a plebiscite dubbed “popular consultations” to decide whether the implementation of the CPA has lived up to the aspiration of the state’s citizens. That vote should take place before the CPA expires in July 2011.