Sudan is Not Ready for Free, Fair, and Credible Elections

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 11, 2010 0 Comments

Elections in Sudan need to be postponed until after the 2011 referendum or simplified and held only for executive positions at this time.

Sudan’s first multi-party elections in over two decades are planned for 11 April 2010. As stipulated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the north-south conflict, the elections would give a chance to Sudanese to freely choose their own representatives for the first time since 1986.

The elected officials would then be able to work on making unity of the country attractive to the southerners who will vote in the self-determination referendum in January 2011 whether to remain in a united Sudan or form an independent country.

When the CPA was signed in January 2005, the elections were planned to take place in 2008 or no later than July 2009. That would give the people in Sudan between two and three years to experience the life under some form of democratic and representative rule.

With the elections now scheduled for April 2010, almost at the end of the CPA interim period and less than a year before the southern referendum, one must ask whether the complex and expensive elections are necessary at all. If Sudan proceeds with the elections, can they be free, fair, and credible? Will the elections lead to pluralism and democracy or plunge the country into post-election instability and chaos?

In a paper titled “Elections in Sudan: Chaos Before Stability,” Savo Heleta argues that in the present situation, with so many issues unresolved around the country, Sudan’s complicated national elections would not lead to pluralism and democracy but rather to instability, further polarization, and post-election chaos. As currently planned, the elections would be a logistical nightmare for any country, let alone Sudan, leaving too much room for post-election manipulation of votes.

The time has run out to “make unity attractive” in Sudan as it will probably take a few tense months of vote counting, possible second rounds for presidents and state governors, and contesting of the results that there will be no time to make any meaningful difference before the southern referendum.

Elections in Sudan need to be postponed until after the 2011 referendum or simplified and held only for executive positions at this time.

Click here to download the paper

(PDF / 8 pages / 100 KB)

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About the author

Savo Heleta is a PhD candidate in Development Studies at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is the author of “Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia” (AMACOM Books, New York, March 2008).

Savo can be reached at savo@savoheleta.com

Visit www.savoheleta.com for more info.

 

About the Author ()

My name is Savo Heleta. Originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, I have lived on three continents in the last decade – Europe, North America, and Africa.I am the author of "Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia" (AM

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