/ 16 April 2010

Vote counting begins in Sudan election

Vote Counting Begins In Sudan Election

Vote counting began on Friday in Sudan’s first multiparty election in more than two decades following a five-day ballot marked by delays, logistical problems and an opposition boycott.

Six National Election Commission officials at a polling station in Amarat Khartoum were seen checking the state of the plastic ballot boxes before opening the first ones at about 8.30am local time.

Ballot papers were then placed on a large table in two piles and counting began under the watchful eye of local observers and representatives of various political parties.

From Sunday to Thursday, Sudanese were asked to choose their president as well as legislative and local representatives. Southerners also voted for the leader of the semi-autonomous government of south Sudan.

Results are expected on about April 20.

The election, which got off to a chaotic start on Sunday, ended with a near-certain win for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The process sought to restore al-Bashir’s stature after an arrest warrant was issued against him by the International Criminal Court in March 2009 for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur.

Ahead of polling day, a significant part of the opposition announced a boycott of the vote, accusing al-Bashir of fraud. — AFP