On Sunday, polls will open in Sudan for the first multi-party (sort of) election since 1986. The weeks and even days leading up to this occasion have been fraught with boycotts on the part of opposition groups and posturing by incumbent President Omar al-Bashir, who threatened to disrupt the South’s long awaited self-determination referendum next year if next week’s election did not proceed as planned. He is now running for re-election virtually unchallenged, as many of the opposition candidates – including his top competitor, the SPLM’s Yasir Arman – have pulled out of the campaign in protest.
The U.S. advocacy community has been gearing up for this moment as well, and when possible, we at Enough have tried to highlight the positive developments that have resulted from the process of preparing for the election. However, the voting that will take place April 11-13 is far from being the symbol of democratic transformation envisioned when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, ending the long North-South civil war. Notably, the European Union announced Wednesday that it would not deploy an international team of monitors to Darfur, citing concern about security during the polls.
So if you’re near the State Department on Monday morning, keep an eye out for a large group of Sudan activists expressing their frustration about how this election season has turned out. They’ll be the folks wearing Genocide Intervention Network t-shirts and dropping oversized mock Sudanese ballots into the trashcans.
(We’ll be there covering it, so check back on Monday afternoon for photos.)
Photo: U.S. Capitol.