The EU said Thursday that next week’s Sudan elections, widely expected to see President Omar al-Bashir extend his 25-year rule, cannot produce a “credible” result. Bashir faces 15 little-known challengers while the main opposition parties are boycotting the vote in an impoverished country riven by deep political, religious and tribal divisions. EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said Bashir’s failure to establish a genuine national dialogue, which he announced early last year, was a real setback and effectively undercut the polls.
“When dialogue is bypassed, some groups are excluded and civil and political rights are infringed, the upcoming elections cannot produce a credible result with legitimacy throughout the country,” Mogherini said in a statement. “The people of Sudan deserve better. We therefore chose not to engage in support of these elections.” The European Union would however continue to support the efforts of the African Union and others to bring peace to Sudan, she added.
At an October summit, EU leaders called on Bashir to seek a comprehensive solution to Sudan’s problems, pressing him to include representatives from the country’s many armed groups, the opposition and civil society.