Sudan's SPLM says may unite with opposition on polls boycott

The junior partner in Sudan's coalition government may unite with opposition parties to boycott April elections in the north, a senior party official said.

Sudan's SPLM says may unite with opposition on polls boycott

The junior partner in Sudan's coalition government may unite with opposition parties to boycott April elections in the north, a senior party official said on Tuesday.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Monday warned Sudan People's Liberation Movement if it boycotted the election there would be no southern referendum on secession in 2011, heightening tensions in Africa's largest country.

But SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum dismissed Bashir's warning, "In the case of northern Sudan, if the political parties boycott the elections in defence of free and fair elections in the north, the SPLM will join them."

"He is threatening the people of southern Sudan to obstruct the right of referendum -- this is a very dangerous position."

A Tuesday meeting between Bashir and his deputy, SPLM chief Salva Kiir, was cancelled abruptly because Bashir's National Congress Party refused to add opposition concerns to the agenda.

Bashir's NCP and the SPLM signed a 2005 peace deal ending more than 20 years of civil war. The accord gave the south its own semi-autonomous government and formed a coalition government in Khartoum.

The first multi-party presidential and legislative polls in 24 years are to begin on April 11, but opposition parties accuse the National Elections Commission of bias towards the NCP, which the commission denies.

On Tuesday, the latest in a string of errors emerged as the government agency charged with printing presidential and governors' voting papers, said it had only printed presidential ballots in Arabic. South Sudan is mostly English-speaking.

The NEC error adds to a string of problems with the polls, already some of the most complex in the world with 1,000 different ballots and with voters making at least eight different votes.

International observers said hundreds of thousands of names were missing from the electoral register and opposition parties are outraged by a NEC decision to allow a state-owned printing press to print ballots and the voter registration books.

One official from the National Elections Commission said the error was due to haste and that lists of candidates in English were being sent to southern voting centres as a reference for those who could not understand Arabic.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mart 2010, 23:50
YORUM EKLE