Sudan on Wednesday extended nationwide elections by one day after a low turnout that the opposition said reflected apathy towards a vote President Omar al-Bashir is widely expected to win. The 71-year-old career soldier, indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, is seeking to extend his quarter-century rule virtually unopposed. He faces 15 little-known candidates for the presidency and a boycott by the mainstream opposition in the country of nearly 38 million people, the world’s third most populous Arab state. Since voting began on Monday, the elections for the presidency as well as the national and state parliaments have seen a poor turnout.
Polls had been due to close on Wednesday evening, but the National Electoral Commission announced they would stay open until Thursday in all districts.
“It is to allow Sudanese voters to choose their representatives in the national and state parliaments and the presidency of the republic,” NEC chief Mokhtar al-Asam said at a press conference.
The opposition Umma Party, which is boycotting the vote, seized on the trickle of voters as a sign of disillusionment with the polls.
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