Su­dan’s Bashir re-elected with 94 per­cent of vote

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY AB­DELMONEIM ABU IDRIS ALI

Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Omar alBashir was elected to an­other five years in of­fice, re­sults showed Mon­day, de­spite in­ter­na­tional war crimes charges and a vote marred by low turnout and an op­po­si­tion boy­cott.

Bashir, 71, took more than 94 per­cent of the vote in the elec­tion held ear­lier this month, the elec­toral com­mis­sion said, prompt­ing the op­po­si­tion to re­ject the re­sult as a “joke.”

Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion chief Mokhtar al-Asam an­nounced Bashir’s victory to a Khar­toum news con­fer­ence to cries of “Al­lahu ak­bar!” ( God is great­est) from the long-serv­ing pres­i­dent’s sup­port­ers.

Only lit­tle- known can­di­dates had run against Bashir and his clos­est com­peti­tor — Fadl el­Sayed Shuiab of the small Fed- eral Truth Party — took just 1.43 per­cent of the vote.

Bashir’s rul­ing Na­tional Congress Party also dom­i­nated re­sults in si­mul­ta­ne­ous par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, tak­ing 323 of 426 seats.

The elec­tions took place over four days from April 13, with vot­ing ex­tended by a day af­ter turnout ap­peared min­i­mal. Asam said the of­fi­cial par­tic­i­pa­tion rate was more than 46 per­cent.

West­ern gov­ern­ments crit­i­cized the elec­tions, which were held amid deep­en­ing eco­nomic woes and con­flicts in the Dar­fur, Blue Nile and South Kord­o­fan re­gions.

Bashir is wanted by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity and geno­cide in Dar­fur, where the U.N. says more than 300,000 peo­ple have been killed and more than 2.5 mil­lion dis­placed.

Nor­way, the United States and Bri­tain slammed Su­dan for its “fail­ure to cre­ate a free, fair and con­ducive elec­tions en­vi­ron­ment” while the Euro­pean Union said the vote could not pro­duce a “cred­i­ble” re­sult be­cause of Bashir’s fail­ure to en­gage the op­po­si­tion in na­tional dia­logue talks he promised last year.

Bashir dis­missed his crit­ics, say­ing they were “colo­nial­ist par­ties” and that their com­plaints would have no ef­fect on the polls.

Con­tin­ued Un­rest

The main­stream op­po­si­tion and rebel groups — which urged vot­ers to stay away from polling sta­tions — re­jected the vote from the be­gin­ning.

The SPLA-N launched an in­sur­gency against Bashir’s gov­ern­ment in the South Kord­o­fan and Blue Nile ar­eas in 2011, com­plain­ing of eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal marginal­iza­tion.

His group, along with rebels in Dar­fur who have been fight­ing Khar­toum’s forces since 2003, had vowed to dis­rupt the bal­lots across their re­gion.

Dur­ing the four- day vote, a hand­ful of polling sta­tions in the trou­bled ar­eas were at­tacked and bal­lots stolen.

Bashir has promised to launch the na­tional dia­logue with the op­po­si­tion af­ter the elec­tion, and rebels from Dar­fur and South Kord­o­fan were due to par­tic­i­pate.

But fight­ing still rages in the re­gions, and the elec­tion re­sults came the day af­ter rebels and the Su­danese mil­i­tary said there had been ma­jor clashes in South Dar­fur state, with both claim­ing to have in­flicted heavy losses on the other side.

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