29 April 2011 – All was set for the Southern Kordofan elections from 2 to 4 May, and steps had been taken to ensure that they would be smooth and fair, senior election officials said today.
“We are ready to receive the people to cast their votes,” said State Elections High Committee (SHC) chairperson Adam Abdin. “We have 642,555 registered voters.”
He added that all polling staff were trained and expected to handle their centres competently.
Mr. Abdin also noted that the security committee of the SHC had worked hard to put in place measures to ensure no incidents occurred that could disrupt the process.
Delivery of polling materials to centres all over the state has been ongoing since the start of last week, according to National Elections Committee (NEC) Logistics Officer Mahdi Mohamed Mukhtar.
“Materials were delivered by air to five localities – Muglad, Babanusa, Rashad, Ab Kashole and Alvasiyr – with logistical assistance from the UN Integrated Referendum and Elections Division (UNIRED),” he said.
The last two consignments of polling materials will be delivered to polling centres within the Kadugli locality on 30 April.
Voters have also received education on the polling processes and their rights and responsibilities, said NEC Media Advisor Abubakr Waziri.
“The voter education campaign started very early, even before the start of the registration and the media campaigns for the parties,” Mr. Waziri. “It proved to be very good because now the people are very aware of all the systems and what they are supposed to do.”
In the last month, intensive voter education throughout the state has been carried out by local civil society organizations with grants from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and overseen by the UNIRED state team.
Voters will be asked to cast four ballots, including one for the state-wide contest for governor, which has three contenders -- Ahmed Mohamed Haroun of the National Congress Party (NCP), Abdulaziz Adam al-Hilu of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Telefon Kuku Abu Jalha, who is running as an independent candidate.
The other three votes will be for the state assembly. The state is divided into 32 geographical constituencies which will make up 60% of assembly seats, with an additional 14 seats (25%) reserved for women and eight seats (15%) for political parties.
Referring to reports in the media that some parties had threatened to boycott the elections, the SHC chairperson said this would not affect the committee’s work.
“All registered nominees are already on the ballot papers,” he said. “It is up to the voters.”
He said that more than 10,000 accreditation cards have been issued to both local and international observers, and urged them to diligent.
“We have observers from the national political parties and other organizations, and also from the Carter Center, the U.S. Embassy and the Netherlands Embassy,” he said. “We invite them to stay in the polling centres at all times until the polling ends.”
The Southern Kordofan elections, due to have taken place concurrently with national elections in April 2010, were postponed over disputes arising from the 2008 census.
“All the parties are now convinced by the amended census figures and we don’t expect any disputes about results of this election based on that,” said Mr. Abdin.
The Southern Kordofan elections will be the last electoral event required by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The legislature elected will oversee the state’s popular consultation process, which is intended to determine whether the CPA has met the aspirations of citizens of Southern Kordofan and resolve any outstanding concerns related to the agreement’s implementation.