NEC Postpones Voter Registration Until November

10 June 2009 (SRS)

The date for voter registration for the elections, scheduled to take place in February 2010, has been postponed until November 2009.

National elections commission Chairman Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, made the announcement on Wednesday, citing delays in the announcement of census results as one of the reasons for the postponement. The results of the census, which have been contested by southern Sudan, are crucial in establishing constituency boundaries.

Abdullah indicated that there had also been setbacks in the process to organize election committees throughout the country.

Voter education programs have so far failed to raise awareness of the necessity to register before being able to cast a ballot and there is widespread ignorance, especially in the rural areas, of the issues and consequences of a poll which promises to be deeply complex for the average voter. Citizens will elect a national president and parliament, together with a new set of state governors and state assemblies. Southerners will also elect a president and an assembly for south Sudan.

The process of voter registration, which is mired in political wrangling throughout the country, is expected to be particularly challenging in the south, where many people have no official identification papers.

Voter registration was originally scheduled to begin earlier this month.

National elections commission Chairman Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah gave no indication if a new date had been set for the elections.


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