Sudan’s elections will take place from April 11-13, and I’m starting to familiarize myself with the technicalities of the process. I thought I’d share what I’m learning. Today I found the website of the National Election Commission. I urge interested readers to look around there. Perhaps most importantly, in the documents section, a factsheet entitled “The Electoral Process in General” explains how the results will come out:
The responsibility and authority to announce election results rests with the [National Election Commission]. When counting has been completed, NEC will declare preliminary results of the election. Candidates or political parties participating in Sudan’s elections have the right to appeal those results to the Court. According to Sudan’s electoral law, NEC shall “immediately” after the appeals process, prepare and declare final election results within 30 days of polling. The results will be published in the official Gazette and in the media.
The BBC supplements this information:
Polling stations will open from 0800-1800 local time (0500-1500 GMT). There are an estimated 16,083 stations throughout the country, with 10,335 of them in the north and 5,748 in the south.
In order to win, a presidential candidate must gain more than 50% of the total votes cast. The result of the presidential poll is expected to be announced on 18 April.
If there is no clear winner, the two leading candidates will enter a second round contest on 10 May. The candidate with the most votes in the run-off wins and the result will be announced the following day.
As the BBC explains, candidates will also be contesting races for the 450-seat National Assembly (their website is here), the governorships of the country’s twenty-five states, and various state assemblies.
Regarding presidential candidates, of whom there are twelve, the BBC profiles four, and Reuters profiles five. Several parties/candidates have websites: the ruling National Congress Party (out of date), SPLM’s Yasir Arman, and the Umma Party, for starters. The latter two are actively covering the elections.
A number of issues related to the election deserve mention as well. Not all of these issues are problems, but all are worth attention:
- Violence in South Sudan; more here;
- The way candidates present themselves with regard to Islam;
- International pressures and Sudanese sovereignty;
- and logistical challenges (see video below).
I’m going to try and give regular updates as the elections approach – and after the voting is over, since we may have to wait a bit for results. The critical question, as in all two-round elections, will be whether the incumbent (President Omar al-Bashir) garners more than 50% of the vote in the first round, thereby avoiding a run-off. And if he does exceed 50%, the next question will be whether the opposition candidates accept the results as fair.
Sudan has major infrastructure in place for the elections, including online, but will it be enough to have things run smoothly? The video below, from Al Jazeera English, highlights some of the difficulties Sudan will face on April 11th. Any thoughts on the elections are welcome in the comments section. Meanwhile, here are a few good, active Sudan blogs: Making Sense of Sudan, Sean Brooks, Rob Crilly, and Roving Bandit.
Hope that people will have to go and to vote legally and widely after waiting all these years fo having this opportunity
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