Dispute over vote-counting delays results of South Kordofan polls

10 May, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

May 10, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Vote-counting in gubernatorial and legislative elections of Sudan’s central state of South Kordofan has been marred by disputes, leading to postponement of polls results amid heightened tension in the oil-producing region.

A delegation of the Khartoum-based National Elections Commission (NEC), which oversees the exercise, arrived in the state after vote-counting was put on hold all day on Sunday following the refusal of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to increase the number of vote-counting committees.

NEC’s deputy chairman, Abduallh Ahmad Abdullah, who led the commission’s delegation to the town of Kadugli, announced that the crisis had been defused after all sides agreed to form three committees to review vote-counting.

Abudallh told reporters on Monday that NEC had realized that one committee would not be able to finish the tabulation of votes at the required speed, hence was the agreement to add two more committee to accelerate the process. He added that he expects the work to be finished within three or four days and afterwards the results would be announced.

A source privy to the situation told Sudan Tribune that the three committees would go through each result form from each of the polling stations, adding that each of the three committees has a party agent in it.

“These committees,” the source said, “have the power to make any corrections to the forms if they are filled out wrong. Then they go to the data center where they are added onto the central software and tabulated.”

The competition for the office of state governor between south Sudan ruling SPLM’s candidate, Abudl Aziz Adam al-Hilu, and the north Sudan ruling National Congress Party’s incumbent governor, Ahmad Harun, is at the heart of tension surrounding South Kordofan elections.

Even though the South will become an independent state officially in July, the SPLM says it will retain a presence in the North through its Northern sector.

Southern Kordofan, the site of oilfields and important civil war battlegrounds on the undefined north-south border, is key to Khartoum because it neighbors Darfur and the disputed oil-producing border region of Abyei border, another possible flashpoint between both sides in the build-up to the South’s secession.

The vote in South Kordofan, which was delayed from a year ago over a census disagreement, was largely peaceful but analysts fear an outbreak of violence when results are announced.

Both parties preempted the announcement of the results, each claiming that its candidate has won.

Meanwhile, the NCP has warned the SPLM against playing bad losers after the announcement of the results.

The NCP’s vice-president Nafi Ali Nafi told reporters in Khartoum on Sunday that his party would not allow the SPLM to use its objections to vote counting as a pretext to instigating chaos and insecurity after the announcement of the results.

Nafi further reiterated his party’s offer to divide power with the SPLM and other political parties at the executive level in order to “maintain the unity of the domestic front.”


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