March 13, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — A number of presidential candidates in Sudan has jointly called on the April elections to be postponed by seven months till next November and submitted a proposed formation for the National elections committee (NEC).
- Ray Kennedy, Chief Electoral Affairs Officer for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
The Umma Party runner for president Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi hosted a meeting at his residence in Omdurman agreed on steps that need to be taken for achieving democratic transformation and establishing an "impartial" board to monitor the work of the NEC in terms of administration and finances, creating a body consisting of presidential nominees with rotating head, rescheduling elections to resolve a number outstanding issues.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) representative at the summit Ibrahim Ghandour promised to convey the demands to president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and arrange a meeting with them to discuss their requests.
Absent from the meeting were the candidates from the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) Yasir Arman, Democratic Unionist Party Hatim Al-Sir, Sudan Communist Party Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud. It was not immediately clear why they did not attend.
The participants also called for the neutrality of the state media, protecting the candidates. enabling parties to address uniformed forces in their barracks, providing access to transportation and telecommunications and funding parties.
They also proposed that the NEC monitoring commission to be composed of Amin Mekki Madani, Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, Al-Tigani Al-Karib, Ibrahim Moniem Mansour, Ambroze Rung, Abdel-Rahman Abdu, Mustafa Majak and Lual Deng.
The parties also expressed concern over alleged switching the process of printing voting slips from abroad to presses inside Sudan that belong to the NCP — a move they would lead to duplicate papers and ballot box stuffing.
The Umma Reform and Renewal Party (URRP) leader Mubarak Al-Fadil said in a statement that the NEC acknowledged this with the consent of Ray Kennedy, Chief Electoral Affairs Officer for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
"This requires investigation from the UN Secretary General on the actions of the UN official and his contribution towards fraud. We will submit a complaint to the UN Secretary General based on the response of the [NEC] commission memo"
Last week, the opposition parties submitted a memorandum of protest regarding reforming the rules set by the commission on the campaigning. he parties say that new rules published by the NEC meant that they have to give 72 hours notice for rallies held inside their own party premises — and had to ask police for permission to meet outside. It also brought up the issue of the voting slips.
The NEC dismissed the memo in a formal response asserting its a neutral body counting an example where the government asked for breaking up the elections but they rejected it and when they overruled NCP challenges on drawing geographical constituencies.
The commission said a bid for printing the voting slips was advertised and two Sudanese companies secured it and that due to time constraints one set of the cards was diverted from a Slovenian company to a Sudanese one stressing that at each step this process was made with the participation of UNMIS elections office.