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Omar al-Bashir Wins Re-Election In Sudan
Omar al-Bashir Wins Re-Election In Sudan
Sudan's president won another term in office Monday with a comfortable majority in elections marred by boycotts and fraud allegations, becoming the first head-of-state to be re-elected while facing an international arrest warrant for war crimes.
Wednesday, April 28,2010 08:00
by MOHAMED OSMAN Huffington Post

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan's president won another term in office Monday with a comfortable majority in elections marred by boycotts and fraud allegations, becoming the first head-of-state to be re-elected while facing an international arrest warrant for war crimes.

Omar al-Bashir's victory was widely expected after his most credible challengers pulled out of the race to protest alleged fraud.

It was unlikely to put to rest questions about his standing around the globe and among his opponents or ease Sudan's isolation. Al-Bashir cannot travel freely because he risks being arrested to face charges before the Hague-based International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in Sudan's western Darfur region.

Sudan's first multiparty presidential, parliamentary and local elections in 24 years were a key requirement of a 2005 peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war between the predominantly Arab and Muslim north and rebels in the Christian-animist south.

The fighting left 2 million people dead and many more displaced. The Darfur conflict, which began in 2003, is not related to that war.

The elections also opened the way for a 2011 referendum in which the south will decide whether it wants to secede.

International observers said this month's elections failed to meet international standards because of delays, intimidation and faulty lists, but they did not call for a repeat vote. Instead the observers recommended that lessons drawn from the process be applied to next year's referendum on southern independence.

Al-Bashir got 68 percent of more than 10 million valid ballots, according to Abel Alier, the head of Sudan's National Elections Commission.

The president appeared on television shortly after the results were announced to declare that "the success of these elections is in essence a success for the Sudanese people." He promised to reach out to all political forces in Sudan to form what he called a national partnership and vowed to make sure that the referendum takes place.

"You gave us your trust," he said. "I reaffirm I will go ahead with the southern referendum on time and complete the peace process in Darfur."

The president of the semiautonomous south, Silva Kiir, also kept his post, winning nearly 93 percent of the votes in the south. Kiir, who also heads southern Sudan's largest political party and is a junior partner in the national government, had also been expected to remain in control.

The results for local governors, the first to be held in Sudan, also came in Monday.

The five days of voting, which began April 11, were marred by allegations of fraud and boycotts and raised concerns of new unrest. Violence was reported in areas of the south.

Election results were delayed amid difficulties in counting and transporting ballots from around the vast country.

Al-Bashir, who came to power 21 years ago in a military coup, was charged by ICC prosecutors last year with war crimes and crimes against humanity for atrocities committed in Darfur. An estimated 300,000 people died of violence, disease and displacement during the fighting between government and rebel forces.

Al-Bashir was expected in neighboring Egypt on Tuesday, where he faces no threat of arrest. Most Arab and African nations do not recognize the ICC and its warrant for al-Bashir.

Ahmed Hussein, the spokesman for the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement, said his group will not accept the election results and has been conferring with other opposition groups on the matter.

Many Darfurians boycotted the elections, specially those in refugee camps.

"Things in our country are not going according to what the people of Sudan wanted. This is going to lead to tension and chaos," Hussein said. "People are not going to accept al-Bashir for another five years."

Mariam Sadiq, a senior member of the Umma party, which had pulled out of the race, said the election results are "morally more corrupt" than the coup that brought al-Bashir to power and called the voting "a costly and ineffective experience."                                                                                                       Source

tags: Sudan / Bashir / Darfur / Sudanese Refugee / Sudanese Election / International Criminal Court / Sudanese Government / Umma Party
Posted in Democracy  
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