Saturday, 3 April 2010

Sudanese Elections ahead

I'm still really enjoying it here, but watching the news carefully as the first elections in 24 years are planned for 11/12/13th April and nobody knows if it will be peaceful or not. One of the prime candidates pulled out of the presidential race on Wednesday amongst rumours of ballet rigging (and that's before it starts). As the BBC wrote yesterday "The only safe thing to say about Sudan's elections is one never knows what might happen next." 

Al Jazeera News international added today that now "Sudan's main opposition parties [5] have withdrawn from the country's upcoming presidential polls, effectively handing a hollow victory to Omar al-Bashir, the sitting president." The parties have pulled out for "irregularities" and say the country is not yet ready to go to the polls as there has not been fair opportunity to campaign the country. Certainly on the main roads around the area I live, every street light along the centre of the roads is covered in huge posters for Al-Bashir's party (left) and you have to look hard to find posters for other parties (right).

What is worrying is that in the Al Jazeera article they quote Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement "Ibrahim said it would be a catastrophe if al-Bashir won the election. "He will continue the violence, especially in the west part of Sudan," he said. "I don't think the other parties will accept this, there will be chaos and war if he [al-Bashir] wins."" . I hope not as Sudan is an amazing place and, to be selfish, I have not had the chance to really explore yet. 

People think that the election days will be a holiday here, and people at work have promised to ring me if I need to stay indoors or anything. I think living away from the city centre may be a good thing if anything happens. Hopefully it will be, less selfishly, the Sudanese deserve to have a fair election and to live peacefully after all these years.