Polling process of Sudan elections ends, ballot count to begi

09:33, April 16, 2010      

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The five-day polling process of Sudan's general elections ended on Thursday, while Sudan's National Elections Commission (NEC) would begin ballot count on Friday and would announce the final results on April 20.

Chairman of the NEC Abil Alier on Thursday made a final tour to a number of polling stations in Khartoum and declared the end of the polling process.

Speaking to reporters, Alier described Sudan's election as "an important transition and implementation of the most important item in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)" which was inked between North and South Sudan in 2005.

During the last day of the polling process, a number of polling stations here witnessed high turnout, even higher than the first day, as voters were keen to cast their votes after the NEC extended the polling process for two extra days.

Many polling station officers said the turnout was similar to that of the first day and the majority of the polling stations have achieved the anticipated turnout.

In the meantime, the NEC on Thursday decided to re-poll at 17 national constituencies and 16 state constituencies, provided that the re-polling is to be conducted in 60 days.

However, many Sudanese fear the announcement of the results would result in tension, particularly in South Sudan.

Sudanese Minister of Internal Affairs Ibrahim Mahmoud Ahmed excluded any probable violence and reiterated that all procedures and security arrangements are carried out as planned.

The higher committee for securing the elections, in the meantime, held a meeting on Thursday evening and reviewed many states' reports, which reflected that the situation was calm during the polling days.

Sudanese police spokesman, Gen. Mohamed Abdul-Hameed al-Tayeb, said on Thursday that the higher committee has reassured the calmness of the situation in all states of Sudan.

Contrary to expectations of violence during the polling process, no incident of violence has been reported in North Sudan, while some reports on electoral violence in South Sudan were circulated though not confirmed.

Around 16 million Sudanese voters cast their votes in the first multi-party election in the country since 1986 to select their representatives for the presidency, the president of government of South Sudan, the state governors and members of the national assembly (parliament) and the state legislative councils.

Though the pulling out of most of the opposition parties from the elections has constituted a great barrier to the elections, it could not erase the significance of the election as it represented the implementation of the most important item in the CPA.

The polling process has faced some difficulties due to technical and administrative errors on the first day when many of the voters could not find their names on the lists.

The participating parties and their candidates have also complained about the missing names and incorrect symbols.

However, in an attempt to find quick solutions to the errors, the NEC decided to extend the polling process for two extra days and reprint some of the incorrect ballots.

About 840 foreign observers and 20,000 local observers have participated in monitoring the Sudanese elections, while about 350 foreign journalists covered the event.



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