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Sudan says 69 parties registered for elections

June 1, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese board for political parties said today that 69 parties have formally registered ahead of the 2010 elections.

Mohamed Bashara Dousa the head of the board told reporters that these parties are the only ones allowed to run in the elections.

Dousa also said that the registered parties will be allowed to conduct political rallies and conventions.

The major parties include the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM), Umma Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Popular Congress Party and Sudanese communist party.

The last general election, in April 1986, was won by the Umma party of Sadiq Al-Mahdi, whose government was overthrown in a 1989 coup that brought Al-Bashir to power. In a presidential election boycotted by the opposition and held in December 2000 Bashir secured 86% of votes.

The elections were originally scheduled for July 2009 but were rescheduled to February 2010 due to logistical issues as well as challenges and delays in milestones such as census, press and security law as well as North-South border dispute

Last month an alliance of 17 Sudanese opposition parties have threatened to boycott elections unless changes are made to “freedom restricting laws” including press law and the existence of a “good election record”.

But some observers say that despite its reservations opposition parties will be hesitant to boycott the elections leaving the NCP with the potential for a landslide victory.

(ST)