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.
Western groups had criticized the Sudanese government for holding elections during a time of violent conflicts and political unrest. Regional groups including the African Union, the Arab League and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development sent observers. The African Union said shortcomings in the elections highlighted “that Sudan still faces serious challenges to democracy-building and national reconciliation.”
Some civil society groups criticized the union’s decision to send a monitoring team, and the Sudan Democracy First Group, an umbrella organization, urged it this week in a statement not to “legitimize a process aimed at prolonging the government of Sudan’s continued political, human rights and humanitarian abuses.”
The African Union stated last month in a report that “the necessary conditions and environment for the holding of transparent, competitive and credible elections” had not been satisfied but decided to send observers anyway, led by Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president.
Full Article: Voting Ends in Sudan With a Small Turnout – NYTimes.com.