نشرت صحيفة الجارديان تقريرا يرصد الانتخابات الرئاسية والبرلمانية الدائرة فى السودان ويشهد اليوم الاثنين أولى أيامها فى ظل عزوف من الشعب من التواجد داخل اللجان الانتخابية، ومقاطعة أحزاب المعارضة لها.
وجاءت أولى أيام الانتخابات التى تستمر 3 أيام دون المتوقع، فالأحزاب المعارضة التى دعت جموع الشعب لمقاطعة الانتخابات تحت دعوى فساد النظام الحاكم المتمثل فى حزب المؤتمر الوطنى تحت رئاسة “عمر البشير”، لم تنجح فى تنظيم مظاهرات ناجحة فى يومى السبت والأحد.
وأشار التقرير إلى نجاح حركات مثل “جرفنا” و”السودان التغيير الآن” فى تحريك بعض المياه الراكدة، فقد حرصت على تنظيم المظاهرات ونقد الرئيس السودانى “عمر البشير” وزيراة معسكرات النازحين جراء الحروب الأهلية.
وتطرق التقرير إلى الحملات الأمنية التى شنها النظام ضد رموز المعارضة من الحركات والأحزاب، والقيود التى كثفها على الصحف التى تنتقد موقفه من الحروب الأهلية فى دارفور وجنوب كردفان ومنطقة النيل الأزرق، رغم أن البشير كان قد صرح مبادرة للحوار الوطنى فى بداية العام الماضى 2014، كان مصيرها الفشل.
وقال المتحدث باسم حركة “السودان التغيير الأن” للجارديان أن الانتخابات لن تغير شىء، فالبشير فقد شرعيته منذ مدة، وسيظل فاقدا لتلك الشرعية حتى بعد فوزه فى الانتخابات الحالية التى يسيطر عليها حزبه الحاكم.
وقال “حافظ محمد” رئيس أحد المنظمات الحقوقية فى السودان إن الانتخابات تلقت مقاطعة من أغلبية الشعب الذى يعرف أنها لا ولن تمس مشاكله اليومية، لتنتهى بفوز حزب لم يغير من الواقع السودانى شىء.
وصرح الاتحاد الأوروبى برفضه للمناخ الذى تقام أثناءه الانتخابات السودانية الحالية، معتبرا إياها بيئة غير مناسبة لانتخابات نزيهة.
وكان البشير قد انضم مؤخرا للحملة العسكرية التى تقودها السعودية ضد المتمردين الحوثيين فى اليمن، فى محاولة منه لتحسين العلاقات مع الخليج العربى، وأيضا شهدت سياساته الأخيرة محاولة تقرب للإدارة الأمريكية لرفع العقوبات الاقتصادية عن السودان واستمرار توقف تحقيقات المحكمة الجنائية الدولية حول جرائم الحرب المتهم بها.
Sudan: ‘The election will not change anything’
With Omar al-Bashir set to stay in power, and opposition parties boycotting polls, there is little electoral excitement among the people of Sudan as voting begins
Sudanese citizens go to the polls on Monday in an election boycotted by the main opposition parties
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The slogans are powerful and the issues deadly serious – but if election fever ever hit Sudan, the temperature has long since returned to normal.
Almost all the major opposition parties are boycotting the elections, which began on Monday, ensuring that the president, Omar al-Bashir, who took power in a coup in 1989, will win another term. His National Congress party (NCP) feels sufficiently confident that it is not contesting 30% of the parliamentary seats, as an inducement to the splinter parties and smaller movements it has convinced to run in these elections.
The opposition’s “Irhal” or “leave” campaign is asking Sudanese people to not vote. Opposition parties are protesting against the restrictions imposed on them and the press, and about the ongoing conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region. A national dialogue, launched by Bashir in January 2014, was meant to address these issues over the past year. However, several opposition leaders were detained and a crackdown on the press was intensified; the talks never really got going. The opposition has said that it is impossible to hold free and fair polls in these conditions.
Yet, on both Saturday and Sunday, the opposition appeared unable to organise the sizable anti-election rally it had promised. On Sunday evening, two hours after the scheduled start time, only one major politician, Farouk Abu Issa, recently freed from several months in jail and looking frail, had showed up. He sat in the front row with a few dozen supporters at most. It was almost as if the opposition was boycotting its own boycott event.
Protest groups such as Girifna and Sudan Change Now have, on a small scale, been more active – holding impromptu seminars in public areas, writing rude slogans on Bashir’s campaign posters or covering photos of his face with red paint, a reference to their claim that these are “blood elections”.
Bashir is being investigated by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur (although the investigation was suspended in December 2014).
“The election will not change anything,” said Amjad Farid, the spokesman for Sudan Change Now. “Before the elections Omar al-Bashir had no legitimacy, and afterwards he will have no legitimacy.”
Vehicles drive past an election campaign banner in support of President Omar al-Bashir in Omdurman, which reads “Nominating al-Bashir, for stability and reconstruction”. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Vehicles drive past an election campaign banner in support of President Omar al-Bashir in Omdurman, which reads “Nominating al-Bashir, for stability and reconstruction”. Photograph: Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP
Sudan Change Now also travelled to some of the camps that are now home to the millions displaced by Sudan’s civil wars. One local traditional leader made his frustration clear: no president had come to his area in southern Blue Nile since Ibrahim Abboud the 1960s, he said. He didn’t know many of Abboud’s successors, the man explained, but he knew Bashir because he sent his planes to bomb them.
Bashir’s camp has dismissed opposition claims that the elections are meaningless.
Rabie Abdelati, an NCP official, said holding the elections is a “constitutional requirement” and political parties “do not have the right” to postpone the election, as the opposition had wanted.
The president has been travelling around the country campaigning and giving his usual fiery speeches. At his last rally, in Khartoum stadium, thousands packed the stands. They screamed when Bashir appeared, and, with a broad smile, he waved back with his swagger stick.
“I like President Bashir as a president because he works very hard,” said one fan, Mohamed Abbas. “He makes us more secure. He has served everyone in Sudan.” Despite all the fervour at the rally, many in the stands left before the end of the president’s speech.
With the result not in doubt and the opposition’s call for a boycott, the number of people who vote in the three-day ballot matters. But in Khartoum, at least, it is difficult to discern much electoral excitement. At the last election, in 2010, there was a sense that a genuine democratic contest – and perhaps even change – might have been possible. However, the irregularities in those elections were downplayed by the international community because of a fear of putting at risk the upcoming vote on independence for southern Sudan.
This time, the atmosphere has been muted. The NCP “has all the power”, said one man from western Sudan, clenching his fist to emphasise his point, “and all the money. What can we do?”
Women take part in a sit-in at the headquarters of Umma, one of Sudan’s biggest opposition parties, in Khartoum to protest against the election. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Women take part in a sit-in at the headquarters of Umma, one of Sudan’s biggest opposition parties, in Khartoum to protest against the election. Photograph: Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP
The lack of excitement in the runup to the vote “is not to do with the campaign from the opposition”, said Hafiz Mohamed, the director of human rights group Justice Africa Sudan. “It’s just people are passively not engaging because they don’t actually see that the process is addressing their problems or serving their interests. There’s no contest, it’s a one-sided election.”
Several western countries have been critical of the process. The EU’s envoy to Sudan was summoned after a strong EU statement. The UK, US and Norway, known as the Troika, have stated that “an environment conducive to participatory and credible elections does not exist”.
Despite frequent anti-western rhetoric, the Sudanese government is keen to improve ties, in part to get American sanctions removed and the debt burden of more than $45bn (£31bn) forgiven. Bashir has been strengthened by an improvement in relations with Gulf countries following his decision to take part in the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. The Arab League and the African Union are observing the polls, and are more likely to accept the results than western nations.