Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Sudan elections set to extend Bashir's rule

09 April 2015, 09:05

Khartoum - Sudan heads to the polls next week in elections widely expected to extend President Omar al-Bashir's quarter-century of rule, despite continued unrest and a faltering economy.

Bashir is facing 15 little-known challengers in the vote, which takes place over three days starting from Monday but main opposition parties are boycotting.

Rights groups have accused the 71-year-old Bashir of crushing dissent with a crackdown on the media and civil society.

In the capital Khartoum, there are few signs the presidential and parliamentary elections are days away, despite official figures showing 44 parties are taking part.

Bashir's face looms from billboards lining main streets but only a few flyers for other candidates are up around the city.

"The election is being boycotted by most opposition parties, the [ruling] National Congress Party is the only real contender for this election. So you can't really expect any surprises," said Khaled al-Tijani, an analyst and newspaper editor.

Career soldier Bashir took power in an Islamist-backed takeover in 1989, the last in a series of coups that marked Sudan after its independence from joint British and Egyptian rule in 1956.

He has since overseen the country's split with South Sudan after a 22-year civil war, but faces continued unrest on several fronts.

A rebellion in the western Darfur region erupted in 2003, where ethnic insurgents complained of marginalisation, that has left some 300 000 dead.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

Rebels vow to disrupt vote

Insurgencies have also broken out in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, led by former allies of south Sudanese rebel forces, and the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North has vowed to stop voting across the whole of the two regions.

Officials have insisted the rebels will not disrupt the vote, but the election will not take place in one district of Darfur and seven in South Kordofan for security reasons.

Despite the continued threats, Bashir has promised on the campaign trail that his next term "will be one of security and political and economic stability for Sudan".

He has made few concrete policy promises but has vowed to boost development of Sudan's struggling economy, which for years has suffered from international isolation.

The United States imposed a trade embargo in 1997 over alleged rights abuses and sanctions over Khartoum's sheltering of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for five years in the early 1990s.

More than three quarters of the country's oil reserves were also lost with South Sudan's split.

Also read: Pressure mounts on Kenya president

With only a few weeks to go before the vote, Sudan last month agreed to join the Saudi-led coalition against Shiite rebels in Yemen, a move Tijani said may be aimed at giving the economy a boost.

"The coalition in the war in Yemen could ease the economic situation in Sudan, which may be expecting to get some assistance from Saudi Arabia," he said.

After years of divisions, opposition groups came together in December to present a united front against Bashir, forming a movement dubbed Sudan Call.

Led by the main opposition Umma party, Sudan's oldest political grouping, Sudan Call agreed to hold talks with the ruling NCP in Addis Ababa in late March to arrange a national dialogue.

Boycott is 'only way'

But the NCP snubbed the meeting and said the talks would take place after the elections.

Two top opposition leaders, Farouk Abu Issa and Amin Makki Madani were arrested in December after signing up to Sudan Call and are facing potential charges of seeking to overthrow the government.

Security forces have also targeted the media and civil society groups, with agents in February seizing the print runs of 14 dailies in one day without explanation, in one of the broadest press crackdowns in years.

The opposition says it has been left with no choice but to refuse to take part in the vote.

"We think the only way out is to boycott the elections," said Mariam al-Mahdi, the Umma party's deputy head.

"We are following civil resistance and civil paths to challenge the regime."

The presidential election could theoretically go to a second round if no candidate wins a first round majority. Officials have said final results will be released in late April.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...