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عربي

Sudan’s opposition parties threaten to boycott elections

Mohamed Hilali
Sudanese opposition parties signalled they will boycott future elections in response to an attack by the Registrar of Parties.
20.03.2013  |  Khartoum
رئيس هيئة القيادة لقوى الإجماع الوطني المعارضة، فاروق أبو عيسى، فبراير 2013. © النيلان | محمد هلالي
رئيس هيئة القيادة لقوى الإجماع الوطني المعارضة، فاروق أبو عيسى، فبراير 2013. © النيلان | محمد هلالي

While the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is gearing up for elections scheduled for 2015, opposition parties said they planned to boycott any ballot.

The opposition is under pressure form an official complaint against them from the Registrar of Political Parties and Organizations which has contacted the Constitutional Court, demanding the dissolution of opposition parties that signed a New Dawn” cooperation agreement aiming to end the current regime. The document was inked in Kampala with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) in January.

It is the government which is afraid, which explains why it refrains from giving us enough space to move.”
Al-Harith Al-Tom
This new threat to the political opposition has been dubbed a technique to exert pressure and control over the political sphere.

Member of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) Central Committee Al-Harith Al-Tom explained the restrictions placed on his party, saying that it would not participate in the elections if this pressure continued. It is the government which is afraid, which explains why it refrains from giving us enough space to move,” he said in a telephone interview, referring to the Registrar’s complaint.

Chairman of the opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF) Farouk Abu Eissa said talk about dissolving the parties and the complaint against them at the Constitutional Court were a tool used to pressurise and punish those parties”, adding that that move, in conjunction with the talk about election preparations, emphasised the government’s lack of seriousness” and short-sightedness by the ruling party”.

In a statement published by Al-Jareeda newspaper last Wednesday, Abu Eissa said democratic life would be incomplete without opposition parties. How can you weaken parties and loosen their relationship with the masses, and still claim you respect democracy and call for fair elections?”

For his part, writer and political analyst Abu-Bakr Amin argued that opposition groups were too weak. If these parties were genuine opposition parties, they would not accept any formulas, including the elections, without ensuring the freedoms, especially assembly, association, demonstration and free expression,” he said.

Boycott is not considered a pressure.”
Abu-Bakr Amin
You should not give a rival party the right to register your party,” said Amin. He argued that the real force of opposition lies with the people, saying that boycott is not considered a pressure”.

The Registrar, for its part, said the parties violated the country’s Interim Constitution of 2005 and provided support to the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, an alliance of groups opposed to President Omar al-Bashir’s government.

Earlier this month Akhir Lahza newspaper reported that the Registrar handed over its critique to the Popular Congress Party (PCP), the National Umma Party, and the SCP, and gave them a week to answer the charges and clarify the jobs of the people who signed the Charter on their behalf.

These complaints are a conspiracy hatched by the regime to dissolve the parties.”
Kamal Omar Abdel Salam
The newspaper quoted the PCP Political Secretary, Kamal Omar Abdel Salam, as saying: These complaints are a conspiracy hatched by the regime to dissolve the parties.”

Abdel Salam argued that the Registrar was not authorised to dissolve the parties, freeze their activities, or even question them and accused it of partiality.

Meanwhile, the nation is gradually gearing up for elections. Earlier this month the Sudanese Media Center published an announcement from the National Election Committee’s Chairman Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah who gave recommendations for the permanent electoral rolls project, incorporating fingerprints and photos to avoid multiple registrations.

Abdullah said it was his committee’s priority to initiate comprehensive and credible electoral rolls, including all eligible individuals. He said voters should be able to express their free will to choose the candidates in order to establish democratic transformation and peaceful exchange of power”.

He argued that the electoral rolls were the backbone of Sudan’s electoral success and would ensure inclusiveness and transparency.