SPLM will not participate in South Kordofan state elections: official
January 23, 2010 (ST)
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) made a surprise announcement today that it will boycott the elections in the South Kordofan state unless the government resets the census results and accordingly redraw the geographical constituencies.
The deputy governor for the state Abdel-Aziz Adam Al-Hilu who is an SPLM figure and its candidate said in a press conference in the Sudanese capital that the census was partially conducted and that the geographical constituencies were determined unfairly.
Al-Hilu added that this decision was taken by the SPLM political bureau and its subject for discussion in the joint committee with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
He slammed the National Elections Committee (NEC) for dismissing the SPLM’s challenge it raised regarding the issues of census and constituencies in the oil-producing state.
Reuters said that Southern Kordofan — the site of oilfields and important civil war battlegrounds on the undefined north-south border — is set to be one of the most closely watched constituencies.
The former rebels said there had been widespread fraud during November’s registration exercise, and that a census used to draw up constituency boundaries had missed out large areas occupied by SPLM supporters.
“This means the elections will not be fair ... We will not take part in these elections unless they repeat the census or redraw the geographical constituencies,” Hilu said.
However, the NCP denied the allegations and downplayed the threat of boycott.
“This is more about the problems the SPLM is having in gathering support and their internal problems in Southern Kordofan,” Ibrahim Ghandour, a senior NCP official, told Reuters.
The SPLM has disputed the census results in the entire country and pressed for scrapping it for the purpose of determining the geographical constituencies.
The SPLM deputy chairman Riek Machar said in press statements this month that they have reached to amend the National Elections Law in which the number of parliamentary seats would be increased to more than 450.
This is supposed to be a compromise to resolve the disputed national census results.
In April 2010, Sudan is scheduled to hold its first democratic elections in 24 years. General elections are required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, which ended the civil conflict between northern and southern Sudan that lasted two decades, killed 2 million people, and displaced 4 million more.
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