Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sudan Vote Lagged International Norms, Observers Say

By Maram Mazen

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Sudan’s first multiparty elections in 24 years did not reach international standards, European Union observers and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said.

Sudan yesterday started counting ballot papers of the election for presidency, parliament and regional offices, after five days of voting that ended April 15.

“The elections did not meet international standards yet,” even as they have paved the way for democratic transformation, Veronique De Keyser, head of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission in Sudan told reporters in Khartoum today as she presented a preliminary report.

The elections were marred with boycotts by the major opposition parties who accused President Umar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party of restricting free speech, using state resources for his campaign and intimidating opponents. The boycotts reduced competition in the north, the statement said. Ruling parties in northern and southern Sudan dominated the elections, as they benefited from unequal resources, it said.

“It is obvious the elections will fall short of international standards,” Carter told reporters today in Khartoum. “Sudan’s obligations for genuine elections, in many respects the people’s expectations, have not been met,” he said. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>