ICC suspect lags behind SPLM candidate in South Kordofan elections: Al-Jazeera

6 May, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

Early results from the gubernatorial race in South Kordofan revealed a comfortable lead for the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) candidate Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu, news channel Al-Jazeera reported.

Al-Hilu is running against the incumbent governor Ahmed Haroun who is the National Congress Party (NCP) nominee and also one of the suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes when he was Sudan’s minister for interior.

Al-Jazeera said the figures it obtained showed that the SPLM’s candidate is ahead by 14,000 votes after counting all but results from six polling stations. It did not say whether the remaining centers would be a game changer.

Elections in the state were delayed from April last year after the SPLM accused Khartoum of rigging the census and ordered its supporters not to register for voting because of that.

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

The NCP has thrown its weight behind Haroun and the state saw recent visits by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his VP Ali Osman Taha in a show of support for their candidate.

Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) quoted an official in the National Elections Committee (NEC) as saying that preliminary results will be announced on Sunday and transmitted to headquarters for certification in mid-May.

Results can be challenged during the appeal period that starts from May 15 until June 3.

The authorities in South Kordofan has urged the residents to accept the results irrespective of the winner and announced a series of precautionary measures including a ban on using weapons and staging rallies during the count and up to the day of announcing results.

There are strong fears of post-results clashes between NCP and SPLM supporters despite a peaceful vote in the state.

"If they (the polls) fail, Southern Kordofan’s elections may yield localised violence...and destabilise the state," political analyst Aly Verjee told Reuters.

Sudanese political analyst Eltaieb Zain Elabdeen had projected that Haroun would win the vote leading to violent reaction.

"The SPLM won’t accept the result so they could mobilise their militia. I think there could be some clashes," he said.


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