Sudan is holding elections for the first time after 24 years
Sudan has hold elections for the first time in its history after 24 years. A devastated country, without infrastructures and serious communications problems due to its extension, has been accused of electoral fraud despite of the international observers. "It is the tenth biggest country in the world. We would have needed more observers, mainly in the south where there are just 55 km of asphalted roads that make really difficult the communication", Ali Davis, Entreculturas employee in south Sudan states.
The three most important organizations that send international observers to the country, European Union (with 140 members in the field), Carter Centre of United States (with 70 people) and African Union (about 50 people), don't match up in their conclusions. While the first ones denounce technical mistakes, complications and lack of fairness during the polling, the African Union is happy with the results.
The estimations show that about 60% of the population has visited the polling stations where there wasn't any incident to regret. However the results are suspicious. "It was clear that in the South would win Salva Kir, Movimiento Popular para la Liberación de Sudán (MPLS) leader. But for me the 93% of the votes is too much, it appears suspicious to me. Ali Davis says.
In the North now the situation is even more complicated. Elections winner with a 68% of the votes and former President, Omar Al Bachir, is accused of crimes against humanity. The split of the parties and the retirement of some candidates before the elections due to the suspicious that they could be rigged, have made the way to access the power easier for the Congreso Nacional Party leader. "Al Bashir has managed it to make the population believe that together they can fight against the rest of the world". Ali Davies says.
A difficult polling
"To the suspicious of electoral fraud it is added the process complication, for a population in a country where the 40% is illiterate, which reaches till an 80% in the south. Even the electoral roll was complicated due to the bad communications and the problem with the voters' registration, as not all of them were able to travel and they had no papers, so they had to go to the register centre attended by the village leader who should identify them. Everything manually, of course", Ali Davies explains.
"Furthermore, people must vote twelve times in four different lists" he ads. The fact is that elections included one vote for Sudan's president, other for the National Assembly, other for south Sudan's president (who will become Sudan's vice-president), other one for south Sudan assembly and another one for each state assembly, they are 10 states. "The most of the people have never voted before, as they haven't done it for 22 years. It was a really complicated process" Entrecultura's employee in the country explains.
These elections are the prelude of a referendum that will take place in 2011 to decide if the south of Sudan, black and Christian, may declare itself independent from the North, mainly Muslim. "The problem is that they have never been united" Ali Davis declares.
Al Bashir has promised to observe the referendum, although bearing in mind his interests in the south with many petrol resources, make this promise be queried. "I am confident that little by little everything will go well, the simple fact of having elections is encouraging and now it's time for governing people to learn and get mature", he concludes.