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Sudan’s dialogue conference to propose postponement of Darfur referendum

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November 17, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Peace and unity subcommittee at the dialogue conference will submit a recommendation to President Omer al-Bashir demanding postponement of the Darfur referendum scheduled for April, 2016, Sudan Tribune has learnt.

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3rd meeting of the national dialogue national assembly in Khartoum on Thursday 20 August 2015 (Photo - SUNA)

The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) provides that the permanent administrative status of Darfur be determined through a referendum.

The voters have to vote for the creation of a Darfur region composed of the States of Darfur; or the retention of the status quo of States system.

The leading figure at the Liberation and Justice Party (LJP) and member of the peace and unity subcommittee Amar Zakaria said they approved a proposition made by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) last Sunday to postpone the Darfur referendum.

Zakaria told Sudan Tribune the members of the peace and unity subcommittee have commissioned its head Mohamed al-Amin Khalifa to submit an urgent written memo to President Bashir asking for the postponement of the referendum.

Zakaria pointed that the situation in Darfur doesn’t allow for holding a transparent referendum which expresses the will of Darfurians, pointing that IDPs living in 114 camps across Darfur and refugees in 13 camps in Chad will not participate in the vote.

He noted that Darfur population amounts to 12 million people according to the last consensus, saying that 5 million are IDP’s and refugees.

Last month, several lawmakers called to postpone the referendum, saying the exercise will create a new turmoil in Darfur and also noted the huge financial cost of the referendum.

In a workshop held recently at the University of Khartoum (UofK), the majority of participants called for delaying the referendum while others supported a suggestion made by the former governor of South Darfur state Hamad Ismail to cancel it.

On Tuesday, Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) expected that a presidential decree to form the Darfur Referendum Commission (DRC) would be issued within a couple of days in order to embark on conducting the administrative referendum according to the president’s directives.

DRA minister of cabinet affairs Youssef al-Tulaib disclosed that President Bashir had recently met the DRA chief Tijani al-Sissi, saying the meeting dealt in detail with the entire aspects pertaining to the referendum.

Al-Tulaib told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) that the DRA is in constant contact with the governors of Darfur states to follow up on the ongoing arrangements to hold the referendum on time, saying the majority of Darfurians have agreed to the need for conducting the referendum as part of the DDPD.

Last October al-Bashir told Sudanese legislators preparations are undertaken to hold the referendum in all Darfur states in April 2016 .

(ST)

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