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Sudan vote slow but smooth on 2nd day

12 April 2010 12:55

Plagued by delays, errors, and fraud allegations, Sudan’s historic elections have entered theirs second day amid calls for an extension to the three-day vote.

Sudan’s National Elections Commission (NEC) acknowledged on Monday that there were “technical mistakes” in the printing of the ballot papers — the main issue that triggered opposition boycotts and fraud allegations ahead of the poll.

However, voters did not seem discouraged as more and more people queued outside crowded polling stations in the capital, Khartoum, a day after thousands of ballots were cast incorrectly.

Aside from polling delays in parts of the northern and the southern Sudan, even stations in the capital opened late on Sunday as electoral officials struggled with logistical and procedural problems.

Local police officials in the southern regional capital, Juba, said they were still expecting voting material as the first delivery on Sunday had contained “incorrect ballot papers.”

This has prompted Sudanese election observers to urge Khartoum to prolong the voting period, echoing UN concerns that many Sudanese in the remote parts of Africa’s largest country could be left out of the vote.

Ahead of the presidential parliamentary and local elections, billed as the first multiparty vote in 24 years, main opposition parties walked away from the vote after revelations that NEC had hired a government-owned firm to print the ballot papers instead of a Slovenian one.

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