Sudan: Omar Bashir unopposed and un-monitored

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Sudan’s first multi-party election in two decades has been thrown into further disrepute as the remaining opposition party and the European Union monitoring committee pull out, leaving the ruling party under incumbent president, Mr. Omar al-Bashir unchallenged and un-monitored, reports have claimed.

Key opposition group, Umma party revealed Wednesday that it would not take part in the presidential, parliamentary or state polls. The Umma party had given President Bashir a list of conditions, including freezing repressive security measures and pushing back the election date in order to participate, however the party has decided to boycott the polls completely.

“We have decided to boycott the electoral process at all levels,” Sarah Nugdalla, head of Umma’s political bureau was quoted as saying.

The election which is a preface to a referendum on southern independence scheduled for January 2011 has been marred by accusations of intimidations and rigging.

The Umma party’s decision follows that of the main southern Sudan party, the SPLM, to boycott the vote in the northern areas. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement secretary general, Pagan Amum reportedly lashed out at President5 Bashir’s National Congress Party, accusing it of intimidation and rigging.

SPLM said late on Tuesday it was extending its boycott to include the northern states in Sudan including Darfur.

A report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group accused the NCP of “long-term plans to rig the elections,” including by using manipulated results of a 2008 census to draw up electoral districts in its favor.

European Union election monitors, told reporters on Wednesday they were re-assessing their deployment in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

“If I feel that security conditions are not guaranteed — not just for the observers but for the people of Darfur. I have decided to go back with all the team of six observers that were still in Darfur,” EU head of mission Veronique de Keyser told AFP.

President Bashir had warned that if observers intervened in Sudan’s affairs, he would cut off their fingers and crush them under our shoes.

“It’s always sad to leave this region which is such a poor region but I really knew when I came that to observe elections here, it’s impossible in a credible way. There are many safety limitations,” de Keyser added.

It was reported that Sudanese authorities had expelled observers with the Carter Centre in nine northern states, but softening his stands towards observers, President Bashir on Wednesday said he would grant Carter and his election observer’s unlimited access in the country.

“In two days, President Carter will arrive and I will receive him and will give him and his centre permission to go to any area of Sudan and to monitor any area in Sudan,” president Bashir was quoted as telling a rally in the north, as the election campaign begins to wind down.

Sudan’s national election commission insisted Tuesday that the vote will go ahead as planned on April 11-13, nonetheless, the United States said on Monday it would accept a short delay in the milestone elections if it helped address concerns in the country.

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