AU observer team terms Sudan's elections as free, fair

10:20, April 19, 2010      

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The African Union (AU) Elections Observation Mission (EOM) on Sunday described the general elections in Sudan as free and fair, noting that the elections held in a developing African country such as Sudan should not be measured by the criteria of the western developed countries.

"What happened in Sudan was a historical event and a great achievement for Sudanese people," Ambassador Kunle Adeyemi, the spokesman of the AU-EOM, told Xinhua, adding that "Sudanese voters had cast their ballots in transparent, free and fair elections in spite of the challenges."

The AU-EOM was dispatched to Sudan on April 8 by Chairperson of the AU Commission Jean Ping and led by John Kufuor, the former president of the Republic of Ghana, to observe the general elections held in Sudan last week, which were the first multi- party elections held in this African country since 24 years.

"We are satisfied with this event," the spokesman added.

Adeyemi further criticized comparing the Sudanese elections with western democracies and said the claim that the Sudanese elections did not meet international standards was "not fair."

"In our own perspective, applying those standards to Sudan, a country that has not seen elections for 24 years, is not fair," he said.

He urged the international community to help Sudanese people in their quest for democracy.

"Sudanese people have done a good job in this event, which reflects their determination to get their votes right to contribute to the democratic transformation of their country. I believe that the international community should assist them in this direction."

In the meantime, the AU-EOM commended in its preliminary statement on the Sudanese elections Sunday the remarkable turnout on the part of the voters, particularly in Darfur states and IDP ( internally displaced people) camps, and considered the elections a historical achievement for the Sudanese people and the Sudan National Elections Commission (NEC).

"The elections constitute an important milestone in the country 's democratization process," the statement said, adding that " given Sudan's history, its current and immense challenges on many fronts, the just-completed elections, though imperfect, are historic."

"The AU Mission wishes to acclaim and congratulate the people of the Republic of Sudan, political parties and candidates, for the peaceful 2010 executive and legislative elections," the statement noted.



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