EU to send election monitors to Sudan in February

U Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton delivers her speech on the situation in Hait Tuesday Jan. 19, 2010 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. AP.
(NSV)  – An EU foreign affairs spokesperson said Thursday the regional bloc was sending observers for the forthcoming Sudanese elections, slated for April 11. 

“The mission will be deployed on the ground in late February,” said the spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

The EU will send 130 observers to monitor Sudan’s first multi-party presidential, regional and legislative elections since 1986. 

“It will be the biggest observation mission” for the European Union, she added.

Previously, only Carter Centre, spearheaded by former US president Jimmy Carter, was charged with monitoring the elections. 

The incumbent President Omar Bashir is facing a formidable challenge from parties like SPLM, Umma, Democratic Unionist, Popular Congress, Communist Party, Umma Reform and Renewal, Sudan Alliance Forces and Socialist Democratic Union in the presidential elections. 

Lately, the NCP has been nudging the SPLM to withdraw its nominee for president, Mr. Yasir Arman, saying it won’t field a candidate against President Salva Kiir.

Last week, Head of Southern Sudan Mission to Kenya, Mr John Andruga Duku said Khartoum  has cut negotiations with Juba. He told reporters in Nairobi the  NCP was “blackmailing” the south with its insistence that Arman’s candidacy be withdrawn.

“We learned [last Wednesday] that [National Congress Party] suspended their dialogue with SPLM on condition that they can only resume this dialogue if SPLM withdraws its candidacy for presidency of the republic of Sudan,” he said.

Duku said the Southern Sudan government was asking for external intervention to safeguard the CPA implementation, accusing President Bashir of sabotaging the Southern Sudan Referendum Act by refusing to sign the Act approved by the Sudan parliament in December.  

“If he does not sign the law, the referendum may not take place,” Duku told a press in Nairobi.

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