Bashir threatens to ban SPLM in north Sudan if parties not allowed in the south

May 30, 2009 (ST)

The Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has threatened to ban the southern Sudan ruling party from operating in the northern part of the country if it does not remove the restrictions imposed on the other political parties in the south.

eight months Sudan will witness the first elections since the 1989 coup d’état that brought the Sudanese Islamists to the rule of the country. The Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) which rules the South has been accused by the National Congress Party (NCP) of obstructing its activities and arresting its members.

Al-Bashir, who is also the NCP chairman, urged the southern Sudan government to create the healthy environment for the democratic process adding they have to remove the ban imposed on the other southern political forces including the National Congress Party.

He further threatened to treat the southern Sudan ruling party, SPLM, reciprocally and ban it in northern Sudan if it persists in its policy of restricting the activities of the other political parties while it has the freedom to exercise political activities in northern Sudan.

"We cannot accept the existence of closed or liberated areas because the Sudan is one country and because the SPLM leaders are acting freely in northern Sudan not because they conquered it militarily but due to the CPA that we implemented and the same thing should be enforced there (southern Sudan)," he said.

Al Bashir, who returned today from Libya, was addressing the concluding session of the eighth convention of the NCP Shura [advisory] Council, on Saturday evening at the party’s premises in Khartoum.

The Sudanese president also urged the semi-autonomous southern Sudan government to redeploy the army out of the main cities saying the Sudan People’s Liberation Army is still deployed in the streets since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement four years ago in 2005.

He also described SPLM’s skepticism and questioning the credibility of the fifth census results as an attempt to avoid the elections and returning to the people to re-invoke the mandate.

According to the published census results, southern Sudan population is estimated at 8.2 million. Southern Sudan officials have said they contest the result and put their population at 15 million.

The SPLM chairman, speaking on May 18 to the Southern Sudan Sultans conference in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, said he is "unhappy and unsatisfied with the census results." He also suggested reverting back to the old constituency system in the elections to avoid controversy.



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