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Multi-party polls open in Sudan

11 April 2010 7:29

Millions of Sudanese are heading to the polls in the country’s first multi-party elections, amid opposition candidate pull-outs and accusations of fraud.

Sixteen million people have registered for the April 11-13 presidential, parliamentary, regional and state elections.

Officials say they have made all the preparations for the electoral process, a Press TV correspondent reported Sunday.

Law-enforcement agencies have also promised to maintain security at the polls.

The elections are part of a US-brokered 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended nearly two decades of war between the North and South of Sudan.

Southern Sudanese will also vote for the leader of the South’s autonomous regional government.

Many opposition parties have boycotted the vote, accusing the electoral commission of bias towards the ruling party

The Umma Party has completely withdrawn from the race. The main opposition party, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has announced that it would only contest in the South.

The boycotts leave only minor opposition groups to challenge President Umar Al-Bashir’s ruling party in the North, which has promised that the votes will be free and fair.

Political analysts say that for many southern Sudanese, a regional referendum on national independence, which has been scheduled for January, is of greater import.

The high illiteracy rate in Sudan and lack of sufficient transportation has caused the United Nations concern that many eligible voters may not be able to reach the polling stations.

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