The chairman of Sudan’s Independent Electoral Commission has defended the conduct of the country’s April 13 elections, saying the only way to have peace in Sudan is to have a constitutionally-elected government. Mukhtar al-Assam said those who criticized the election want Sudan to be in chaos like South Sudan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq. The commission announced Monday that President Omar al-Bashir had been re-elected to another five-year term after winning more than 94 percent of the vote. Most of the major opposition parties boycotted the election. Assam said the turnout of 46 percent was better than last month’s general election in Nigeria, which was 42 percent.
The US, Britain and Norway on Monday blasted Sudan for failing to hold free and fair elections which alleged war criminal President Omar al-Bashir is widely expected to win. In a joint statement the three countries said they “regret the government of Sudan’s failure to create a free, fair, and conducive elections environment.” They blamed low voter turnout on “restrictions on political rights and freedoms” as well as continued fighting in parts of the country.
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.
Voting ended Thursday in Sudan’s elections, with a low turnout despite a one-day extension. “Vote for who, vote for what?” said Ihab Shareef, 40, a former civil servant who now drives a taxi. “It would have been better if the elections money was spent on hospitals.” President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for more than 25 years, is expected to win amid widespread apathy and a call for a boycott by opposition groups. Final results are to be announced April 27. Fifteen other largely unknown candidates ran for president. Forty-four parties officially participated in the elections, which began Monday, for seats in the National Assembly and local legislatures.