Home | News    Sunday 28 March 2010

Opposition coalition and SPLM to decide on election boycott next week

March 28, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese opposition forces and the southern Sudan ruling party agreed to delay their decision on whether to participate in April election or to boycott it to the next week after a meeting of the presidency where the issue is to be discussed.

The decision was announced on Saturday in Khartoum after a meeting attended by 17 political forces including the Umma Party of Sadiq Al-Mahdi, SPLM, PCP of Hassan Al-Turabi, the Communist Party and DUP of Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani who joined the coalition today for the first time.

The multiparty election is scheduled for April 11 to 13, but rumours persist of a possible delay despite the announced rejection of the National Congress Party (NCP) which ruled the country following a coup d’état in June 1989.

The Sudanese presidency is expected to meet next Tuesday March 30, and the issue of election postponement will be discussed on the request of the SPLM chairman Salva Kiir Mayadrit.

"The ’National Consensus’ forces have decide to delay the decision on its participation or boycott of the elections to the next week after a presidential meeting to be held next Tuesday," said Farouk Abu Eissa, the head of the coalition in a press conference held today following the meeting.

"The representatives of «SPLM» officially informed the meeting that the First Vice President and SPLM chairman, Salva Kiir Mayadrit, sent a note to the presidency demanding to address the abuses that accompanied the electoral process and to postpone the election to an appropriate time," Abu Eissa said.

He added that the outcome of this presidential meeting may resolve the problem and respond positively to the request of election postponement. He pointed out the leaders of the National Consensus will meet on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning to announce their decision regarding the election.

Sudanese opposition parties have called to delay the elections, a key provision of the CPA, to November this year. They accused the NEC of bias in favor of the ruling NCP and urged to undertake reforms in a number of laws primarily relating national security and media.

Abu Eissa reiterated their position form the electoral board and also distanced the coalition from Bashir threats to expel foreign observers.
The Carter Center which is in the country since last year to observe the electoral process in Sudan said in a report released last week that preparations by Sudan’s NEC were lagging.

"With a series of delays and changes in polling procedures, a minor delay in polling for operational purposes may be required," it said adding that "The Carter Center is deeply concerned that the final voters’ list is still not ready, with several hundred thousand names still omitted". The center also mentioned there were reports of discrepancies between registration booklets and the central electronic voter registry.

In his press Conference, Abu Eissa also welcomed the participation of the Democratic Unionist Party of Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani for the first time in the meetings of the coalition announcing that the DUP has joined the National Consensus.

SPLM runner for Sudan President, Yasir Arman who represented his party with the Secretary General Pagan Amum told reporters that the coalition changed its name from "Juba Conference" to "National Consensus" adding "We make up the majority of the political class, except for the National Congress Party" of President Al-Bashir.

Al-Mirghani, who is also the leader of the National Democratic Alliance had launched the "National Consensus Initiative" to resolve the outstanding issues in the process of democratic transition in the country. But he blamed the opposition and the ruling coalition forces NCP and SPLM for ignoring his initiative and refused to participate in Juba conference where the former allies of the NDA gathered last year.

Before the CPA era, the late SPLM leader John Garang was a close ally to Al-Mirghani who is expected to visit soon Juba for meeting with Salva Kiir. GOSS Vice President Riek Machar paid a visit to the DUP leader at his home in Khartoum North to discuss the electoral process.

Pagan Amum who flanked Machar during the visit told reporters that the two parties agreed to adopt a joint position on the election following Tuesday meeting.