Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sudan elections

The most comprehensive analysis of the April elections in Sudan has been compiled by the Sudanese Group for Democracy and Elections (SuGDE) operating in northern Sudan and the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (SuNDE) operating in southern Sudan.

The two umbrella organizations have no links with the government of Sudan or any of the political parties; it is a non-partisan coalition that represents over 75 Sudanese civil society organizations and faith-based groups committed to promoting the ability of the Sudanese public to participate freely in the democratic process.

They relied on more than 2,000 volunteer election observers in both northern and southern Sudan. They received more than 13,500 reports from over 4,300 trained election observers deployed to more than 2,000 polling stations in all of Sudan’s 25 states.

SuGDE and SuNDE concluded that Sudan’s elections did not fulfill the interim Constitution’s and Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s (CPA) aspirations for democratic transition and did not adequately meet the requirement of the National Elections Commission rules and regulations. The two groups detailed the inadequacies in the elections. They concluded that the administration of the election in southern Sudan was more problematic than the one in northern Sudan.

They did give the authorities credit for trying to run a free and fair election, but essentially concluded the challenges overwhelmed them. The elections were generally peaceful and interest was high in many areas. You can access the report as a PDF file here.

Al-Arabiya News asked me to join a live, televised discussion about the elections on April 28, 2010. The moderator was pushing the idea that the United States is strongly supporting an independent southern Sudan. I responded that I thought the preference of the United States government was for a unified Sudan in which unity would be made attractive for southern Sudan.

The time to make this happen, however, was immediately after the signing of the CPA in 2005. This did not happen, and now the United States is only making the argument that it is important to implement the terms of the CPA, which includes a referendum in January 2011 on independence for southern Sudan.

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