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Sudan Elections 2015

Sudan is all set to go to polls in April 2015 to elect its President and members to the National Legislature. The current President, Omer Hassan al-Bashir of the National Congress Party, is seeking re-election as President.

Various opposition parties led by PCP leader and longtime opponent of Omer al-Bashir, Hassan al-Tourabi along with NCF Chairman Farouk Abu Issa and NUP leader Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi have called upon the UNSC, the UN member states and the African Union, to support the call for boycotting the proposed elections, until the process of negotiating the peace agreement is completed and the adoption of constitutional reforms fully implemented. The opposition groups fear that the elections will only serve to once again legitimize the Omer al-Bashir regime and delay the process for peace and reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is proceeding with its plans for conducting the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in April 2015. The commission is gearing up to deploy 60,000 elections workers, who will assist in conducting polls at 11,000 polling stations. In addition, there will be seven polling stations abroad to serve 105,000 registered voters living abroad.

  Election history: Presidential Elections
The previous Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held in 2010, with the National Congress Party retaining its dominant position and President al-Bashir being re-elected as the President.

The National Congress Party has been the dominant party for a long time with President al-Bashir continuing to win consecutive elections ever since he took power through a bloodless military coup, on 30 June 1989, overthrowing the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.

Sudan has had a troubled history with sectarian conflict between the people of Arab ancestry from the North and those of African ancestry in the South.

After years of civil war between various factions, South Sudan became an independent country following a Referendum held in 2011, while Sudan retained the northern part, with Khartoum as its capital.

In 1989, after seizing power, Omer Hassan al-Bashir suspended all political activity and created the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, of which he appointed himself as Chairman.

In 1993, he dissolved the Council and took total control by announcing himself President.

In 1996 he organized Presidential elections with himself as the principal candidate. Although there were 40 other candidates who stood for elections as independent candidates, Omer al-Bashir won 75.4% votes and was thus elected as President for a term of five years. He appointed Hassan al-Turabi, a staunch Islamist, as the Speaker of the National Assembly and he remained in position through most of the 90s.

In 1998, President al-Bashir put in place a new Constitution to allow limited political activity against his own party, the National Congress Party. However, with Hassan al-Turabi increasingly asserting his influence along with the conflict in Darfur reaching crisis levels, President al-Bashir sent in his tanks to the Parliament and ousted the Speaker, Hassan al-Turabi, in a coup, on 12 December 1999.

Presidential elections were held between December 13-23, 2000 and Omer Hassan al-Bashir was once again re-elected for another five year term.

After years of civil war between factions of North and South Sudan, a Peace Accord was brokered in 2005. Between 2005 and 2010, a transitional government was formed based on a power-sharing formula agreed between President al-Bashir of National Congress Party and Salva Kiir of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

In April 2010, the first multi-party Presidential elections was held and Omer al-Bashir was re-elected as President, winning 68.24% votes against Yasir Arman of SPLM’s 21.69% votes. All other candidates managed to win just single digit vote shares.

He remains the Presidential candidate from his party, the National Congress Party for the forthcoming Presidential elections in April 2015 and is expected to win again, despite increasing opposition to his authority.

  Election History: Parliamentary Elections
From the time President Omer Hassan al-Bashir took power, Sudanese politics has been dominated by the National Congress Party, with little challenge from any other party.

During the 1996 Parliamentary elections, 125 out of 400 members of the National Assembly, were nominated prior to the elections with only 275 seats remaining for the elected candidates. Of these, 51 seats remained uncontested, while all other candidates stood as independents, since there were no political parties at the time.

The December 2000 Parliamentary elections were boycotted by most opposition parties, at the time. Political parties like the Umma Party, Democratic Unionist Party and the Popular National Congress, all stayed away, as a result Omer al-Bashir’s National Congress Party won unchallenged, bagging 355 out of a total 360 seats. The remaining five seats went to the Independent candidates.

During the 2010 Parliamentary elections, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) tried to put up a challenge to the dominant National Congress Party but could only win 99 seats, while the National Congress won 323 seats out of a total 450 seats.

The Popular Congress won four seats, Democratic Unionist Party four seats, Umma Federal three seats, Umma Renewal and Reform Party two seats, Democratic Unionist Party – Original two seats, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – Democratic Change two seats, other Parties collectively won four seats and Independent candidates won three seats.

  Election System
The present National Legislature has two chambers and all members serve six year terms. The National Assembly, also known as Majlis Watani, comprises of 450 nominated members and represent a cross-section of former rebels and opposition groups, along with select government sponsored individuals.

The other chamber is the Council of States, also known as Majlis Welayat, and comprises members indirectly elected by state legislatures.

  Political Candidates
The Presidential elections is likely to see President Omer Hassan al-Bashir being re-elected and with most opposition groups staying away from the Parliamentary elections, the National Congress Party is expected to continue its domination of politics in the country.

  Last Updated : April 08, 2015

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