Monday, April 26, 2010
Bashir reelected in fraudulent elections
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has won Sudan's first open elections in 24 years in a result that confirms in office the only sitting head of state wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
Bashir won 68 percent of the presidential vote, while Salva Kiir retained his job as the president of Sudan's semi-autonomous south, with 92.99 percent of the vote in that race, Sudan's National Elections Commission announced.
Bashir is expected to form a coalition with Kiir as the country heads toward a 2011 referendum on whether south Sudan should split off and become Africa's newest state.
Bashir had hoped a win in a legitimate vote would help him defy the ICC warrant, in which he is accused of ordering a campaign of murder, torture and rape in Sudan's Darfur region.But the election, meant to mark Sudan's transformation into a democratic state, were marred by widespread charges of fraud, including from Kiir's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), suggesting the new ruling coalition will be a fragile one.
Bashir appeared on state television soon after the result saying the Sudanese people "have achieved this moral victory before the eyes of the world in a civilized, high class and shared manner."He added that Sudan would hold the southern referendum "as scheduled." Many southerners fear Bashir will try to disrupt the plebiscite in a maneuver to keep control of the south's oil.
Kiir said he felt "total dismay" about reports of election irregularities and promised to investigate all complaints. "No amount of intimidation or provocation will lead us back to war. We will maintain security and prepare our people for the referendum in 2011," he told journalists in the southern capital Juba, going on to congratulate Bashir on his win.
A breakdown of the presidential votes showed massive majorities of up to 95 percent for Bashir in most northern states, although those percentages dipped in three states of Darfur and border regions.
Kiir won overwhelmingly in every southern state.
Bashir's victory was dismissed by opposition parties. They boycotted the vote, citing fraud.
"They cooked the figures -- (Bashir) didn't get 51 percent of the vote," UMMA Reform and Renewal leader Mubarak al-Fadil told Reuters. "His campaign was conducted under one party system with all the foundations of a police state ... it was a farce."
Human Rights Watch said the win gave Bashir no extra legal immunity against the ICC charges.
North-south tensions bode poorly for full implementation of the peace deal, including next year's referendum.
Any major delay to that vote would be unacceptable to southerners, who most believe overwhelmingly want secession.