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Sudan opposition parties renew threat to boycott election

Sudan opposition parties renew threat to boycott election

Sudan's major opposition parties threatened late on Thursday a total boycott of the country's first multiparty elections in decades, citing irregularities and government bias.
Opposition leaders gave themselves 24 hours to consult with their parties before making a final decision. A boycott would shatter the credibility of the landmark contests which were meant to stabilize the fractious country and could spark renewed unrest and bloodshed.
"Political forces decided to reject and boycott the incomplete and deformed elections which the ruling party insists on holding in April devoid of the minimum conditions of freedom or fairness," the opposition's statement declared.
The opposition boycott threat includes parliamentary elections which are to be held at the same time as the presidential contest, the first multiparty vote in 24 years.
The opposition is demanding the government delay the April 11 elections seven months and address their complaints that the institutions governing the election are under the authorities' control and biased.
"Several parties are still in consultation over the next 24 hours to formulate the nature of their boycott," Mariam Sadiq, a senior member of the Umma Party, told reporter. A number of the 11 candidates challenging President Omar al-Bashir had already indicated they would boycott the presidential contests. Al-Bashir came to power in a military coup in 1989.
The boycott and the threat come on the heels of a decision Wednesday by the south's main party, The Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, to withdrew its own presidential candidate, who would have been a key contender.
The brinkmanship comes as U.S. envoy to Sudan Scott Gration arrived in Sudan and met with opposition leaders, apparently to ward off a crisis ahead of the vote, according to the southern party spokesman.
The parliamentary, local and presidential elections are a crucial step in the 2005 north-south peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war and paves the way for a referendum when southerners would decide whether they will opt for secession from the Muslim-dominated north.


Updated : 2021-04-20 04:57 GMT+08:00