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Sudan may delay 2010 elections.

June 10, 2009 (KHARTOUM) -- Sudan may delay once again the general elections in the country which will mark the end of the interim period that started in July 2005 following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

File Photo showing Enumerators from the Sudan Commission for Census and Statistical Evaluation prepare for interviews with residents on the opening day of Sudan's 5th National Population and Housing Census in Khartoum (AP)

Initially the presidential and parliamentary elections on national and state levels were supposed to be held before July 2009. But, Sudan electoral board decided to delay elections to February 2010, a decision justified by the needed preparations and some achievement of some crucial outstanding issues. "We are considering a modification, an adjustment of our old timeframe to accommodate the delays that have taken place," said Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah,the deputy chairman of the National Elections Commission in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday. It would "not be very much of a delay" he added. The Sudanese official did not suggest any new timeframe but said voter registration -- originally set for June -- would now likely start in November after disruptive rains have finished. "Some of the intervals and the stages are dictated by law so you cannot accelerate the stages," he further said. The peace process signed in January 9, 2005 was supposed to lead the country to the first free democratic elections still faces many hindrances and delays since the death of John Garang who was supposed to be its principal actor. The outcome of the fifth census is now rejected by the SPLM which request a political agreement over the issue but the dominant National Congress Party continues to believe that the southern Sudan ruling party has to accept the internationally monitored results. Besides, the security law and Abyei issue, the North-South border still not defined. Boundaries delineation on paper could be done by September and on-the-ground demarcation by December, Abdallah said. Also the Darfur conflict that erupted since six years ago does not seem of a major concern for the SPLM which focuses its efforts in the 2011 referendum. However, many unresolved questions are raised over the participation of the displaced and the refugees in eastern Chad. The deputy head of the independent electoral board said they did not yet decided whether Sudanese refugees abroad will be allowed to vote and, if so, how. Last April when the deferral of the elections was announced, the SPLM warned that this should not delay the exercise of 2011 referendum that would determine the political future of Southern Sudan. SPLM Deputy Chairperson, James Wani Igga, who also chairs the SPLM election committee, stressed, last April after the delay, the need to vote the referendum bill and to complete the demarcation process of the North-South border. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Jun 12, 2009
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