April 13, 2010

Election: Beja supporters kidnapped

Khartoum, Sudan - A Sudanese political party, the Beja Congress, said Monday its supporters and party agents were kidnapped at gunpoint hours after elections kicked off in Sudan’s presidential, parliamentary and state governorship elections.

Ibrahim Al Dab, the candidate for the Beja Congress, said the party agents were kidnapped at a polling station in Dalgeik polling centre, in the Red Sea State.

The parliamentary candidate said in an interview with the UN-funded Radio Miraya, that unknown gunmen stormed the Dalgeik polling station and kidnapped representatives of the opposition party.

The incident forced some independent candidates running for various posts to withdraw from the elections last-minute.

The credibility of the elections has been smeared by the boycott of the major political parties, although about 56 political parties were initially expected to vie for posts.

The Sudanese elections have been marred by reports of vote fraud.

The Sudanese voters have gone to the polls to elect a president for the country, 25 state governors and several members of parliament, to sit at the national parliament and state and regional parliaments, including the 271 members for the Southern Sudan assembly.

The country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) admitted that it had been overwhelmed with the electoral process in Sudan, due to lack of experience.

The Beja Congress Party said its candidates also experienced widespread fraud and duplication of ballot papers.

It also alleged that some voters were unable to vote properly due to the complex process involved in having each voter cast their votes.

It is estimated that the 14 million voters registered to vote in the elections would require more time to cast their votes.

The elections were due to last three days but a campaign is underway to have the voting period extended by at least four more days.

Election observers said it took more than 30 minutes for each voter to cast his vote due to the complexity of the process.

The elections have recorded a higher voter turnout in areas dominated by the supporters of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), the party sponsoring incumbent President Omar el-Bashir.

Khartoum - Pana 13/04/2010

No comments: