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Sudanese cabinet to discuss changes to electoral law

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June 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – A senior official in Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) revealed that the cabinet intends to discuss introducing amendments to the elections law in its weekly meeting on Thursday.

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Sudan investment minister Mustafa Osman Ismail attends a news conference at the end of the International Donor Conference for Reconstruction and Development in Darfur, in Doha on April 8, 2013 (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Mustafa Osman Ismail, the NCP political secretary, said that this step is necessary to avoid a constitutional vacuum which opposition parties have warned of.

Ismail, who addressed a meeting with the NCP women’s sector on Wednesday, said that they are seeking to avoid such a scenario in state institutions and the electoral commission once constitutional deadlines have passed.

“We say to those who are thinking about this, we will not allow a constitutional void therefore the council of ministers will look into making amendments in the election law” he said.

However, Ismail stressed that these amendments will not serve as a "veto" to postponing elections, noting that elections can be postponed a week before its date if agreed to by dialogue participants.

This week, Sudan’s presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour said that elections will most definitely take place as planned next year if opposition parties continue to refuse to engage in dialogue.

“When the elections commission announces election date, we will go ahead”, he said.

Sudanese officials in the past said 2015 general elections will proceed as planned irrespective of the national dialogue process.

Sudan’s general elections are set to be held in April 2015 but opposition parties threatened to boycott it saying the NCP holds absolute control over power and refuses to make any compromises to end the civil war and allow public freedoms.

The Sudanese president has launched a national dialogue process with opposition parties after tabling its framework last January. However, observers are skeptical that it will yield any agreement given boycott by many opposition parties.

The National Umma Party (NUP) and the Reform Now Party (RNP) suspended participation in the dialogue process to protest arrest of NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and what they said was a government crackdown on political and media liberties.

(ST)

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