The IGAD Election Observation Mission deployed to observe the Presidential and General Elections held in the Republic of the Sudan from 13 to 16 April 2015, has concluded its mission successfully. IGAD deployed the mission following an invitation extended by the National Election Commission (NEC) of the Republic of the Sudan.
The Mission was led by Dr. Mohammud Abdulahi Hussien, Commissioner at the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia who also represented the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that is holding the current chairmanship of IGAD.Other 30 members of the Observer Mission included Ambassador Yusuf Abdulrahman Nzibo, Commissioner of the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as well as Commissioners of Electoral Commissions, Ambassadors, Member of Parliaments, Representatives of Member States’ focal Ministries, representatives of Civil Society Organizations and members of the IGAD Secretariat.
The overall objective of the Mission was to assist the Republic of the Sudan, a founding member of IGAD, in its efforts to conduct free, fair and credible elections by providing positive and constructive feedback. It is also part of IGAD’s broader efforts to facilitate the development of a democratic culture in the region that helps avert conflicts related to election disputes.
Members of the IGAD Election Observation Mission were deployed to eight sites, namely: Khartoum 1 (Centre and Omdurman); Khartoum Bahri; El-Gezira State (Wad Madani); White Nile State (Kosti); River Nile State (Shandi); Gedarif State (Gedarif); North Kordofan State (El-Obeid) and the Northern State (Dongola). The teams observed the poll opening, closing and early stages of counting of the election process from 13-17th April 2015.
In each of the deployment sites, the mission was able to visit a substantial number of polling stations and observed the following:
Most polling centers opened as scheduled at 8.00 am but it noted few instances of late opening.
Election materials were adequately distributed on time and in sufficient quantity throughout the four days with the exception of some instances of late delivery. For instance, late delivery of election materials to Wad Madani on first day of polling.
Electoral officials demonstrated good understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the above-mentioned sites covered by the observation mission.
There was sufficient number of local observers, but participation by international observers was limited both in number and global representation.
There was slow and gradual turn-out of voters across the four days.
The secrecy of the vote was generally upheld with the exception of isolated cases of limited space in some polling stations that compromised it.
Every voter had the same number of votes (one person one vote) and all votes carried the same weight.
The Mission observed the early stages of the counting process. Although it started on a slow pace, the same picked up as time went on and no incidents of disruption were observed.
The observer team has noted a remarkably high level of participation and inclusion of women in the voting process.
Women were engaged as polling officials, party agents and election observers. They also turned out in large numbers as compared to men to vote during the four days of polling.
The observer mission noted that the overall environment during the election was peaceful with no major incidents recorded by IGAD observers.