On Monday, the Sudanese began voting in their presidential and parliamentary elections, even though all of the major opposition parties have boycotted the election.
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For Sudan, this is the first election to take place since South Sudan split with it in 2011. With a number of civil society, media, and political figures reportedly arrested in recent months by the government and 14 newspapers that were “confiscated” in a single day, though, there has been widespread accusations of “political repression.”
Consequently, all of the main opposition parties that were originally vying against 25-year presidential incumbent President Omar al-Bashir (pictured) have boycotted this year’s elections, which are slated to end on Wednesday.
Thirty-three-year-old activist Raga Makawi, who is currently based in London, called the nation’s elections a “fallacy,” adding, “It is just a political charade. The government is trying to use it to legitimise another five years for the international community when we know the reality on the ground is there is no election in any real sense.”
The boycott means that President Bashir, who is the only sitting president to be indicted with genocide and war crimes in the world, is running against 15 virtually unknown candidates.
Therefore, the Sudanese are essentially bracing themselves for yet another five years with Bashir.
The United States, United Kingdom, and Norway criticized the day’s elections in a joint statement, saying that “an environment conducive to participatory and credible elections does not exist” in Sudan.
And while there are 13 million voters who are registered to vote in the country, police were said to outnumber voters in the capital city of Khartoum on Monday.
Still, university professor Ahmed Sulieman explained why he was taking part in voting to the AP, saying, “Many countries are suffering amid power struggles.
“I am here for the sake of stability and safety,” he added.
Watch the Sudanese vote in the election here: