Sudan votes in elections set to extend Bashir’s rule
SUDAN is voting in elections shunned by the opposition and expected to see the incumbent President Omar al-Bashir hold on to power for another five-year term.
Voting in the general and presidential elections began at 8am yesterday and will continue for three days.
More than 13 million people have registered to vote at some 11,000 polling stations across the country, but voting got off to a slow start, with mostly soldiers and elderly people showing up at locations visited by Al Jazeera.
At the St Francis School in central Khartoum, the first person to vote, 61-year-old Saad Eldin Osman,said it was his duty to vote “for the nations future” and that he would cast his vote for Bashir.
The president later voted at the same school, accompanied by ministers and his two wives.
The country’s main opposition groups are boycotting the elections, in which 15 little-known candidates are challenging the incumbent.
“I only see Bashir on TV and elsewhere. It doesn’t feel like Bashir has any other contesting against him,” Ali Adel Kheder, 19, told Al Jazeera, adding that he would not vote.
“The state TV and private channels are all pro-Bashir. I don’t know who the candidates are and what their election programmes are.”
Voters are also electing members of the national assembly, and the legislative councils of the states.
Quota systems are in place to ensure that women occupy at least 25 percent of seats in the national assembly and that all the country’s regions are fairly represented.
The opposition says no credible elections can be held until peace is restored in all of the country’s regions and the opposition’s demands, including the release of all political prisoners and increased press freedom, are met.