PUIC Mission observes Sudanese elections

PUIC Bulletin No.5 Spring 2010

• For the first time in its history, the PUIC observed general elections in one of the states of its Member Parliaments. Upon an invitation from the National Elections Commission of the Sudan, A PUIC Mission was dispatched to Khartoum to monitor the proceedings of the general elections which began on Sunday 11 April 2010, and polling ended on Thursday 15 April 2010. Other organizations and groups participated in observing these elections. They included international parties which helped in the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Sudan; regional and international specialized organizations and centers;  embassies accredited to Khartoum, namely, American, British, Dutch, Canadian, Swiss and Japanese; some countries, namely Egypt, Japan Russia, China, Brazil and Turkey; and 232 national organizations which fielded 2,278 observers in all states of the Sudan.
Head of the PUIC Observation Mission Ambassador Siddig Yousif Abouagla, Director of the Cabinet of the Secretary General, prepared a report on the mission and delivered it to the National Elections Commission in Khartoum on 17/4/2010. Following are excerpts from the exaustive report which covers the period of monitoring the polling days 11-15 April as well as the first day of sorting and counting the ballot papers:
• Elections levels: Elections were held at (6) levels:
President of the Republic -  Head of South Sudan Government - National Assembly – State Assemblies – Women Lists (25% of the seats) – and party popular constituencies.
• The number of voters, 16 million.
• The number of candidates, 14,155 candidates at all levels.
• Number of ballot Boxes 1200.
• The PUIC Mission observed the election process in 40 polling stations in Khartoum State which covered the cities of Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman as well as Tuti Island in the middle of the River Nile. The Mission also headed for the Gezira State where it monitored the elections in the state capital Wad Medani in addition to polling stations along the 180-km road between Khartoum and Wad Medani.
•Conduct outside polling stations: observations of the mission:
- There were no manifestations of influencing the voters whether inside or near polling stations.
- Party rallies – if any- were inside tents away from the polling stations. There were no loud speakers. There were no riots.
• Conduct inside polling Stations: observations of the mission:
- Election staff, party agents, observers and voters were only present inside the polling Station.
- Chief of Polling Station showed the empty ballot box to the party agents and the observers. Then he closed it and dictated the secret numbers of the box to those present.
- The chief of the station was informed about the number of registered voters at the station. He explained the process of casting the votes which begins with checking the identity of the voter; checking his/her name on the register; stamping the back of the ballot paper. Voting is carried on behind a secluded corner of the room. At the end of the day, the chief of the station closed the boxes and dictated the secret number of each lock to the party agents and observers.
• sorting out and counting ballot papers:
- PUIC Mission observed the sorting and counting of ballot papers on Friday morning 16 April 2010 in the presence of party agents and observers:
- Sorting and counting of ballots were conducted in a quiet atmosphere. Ballot papers were shown to the party agents and the observers.
• General remarks:
- Voter turnout was high, especially among women.
- At the stations visited by the PUIC Mission voting took place in an extremely calm and safe atmosphere.  In all these stations no incident prejudicial to security or public order was recorded.
- Police men were on duty at the entrances of the stations in silence and calm.
- During the first hours on the first day of voting there were administrative shortcomings and failures.
• Performance of the National Elections Commission:
- The Commission adopted professionalism and transparency in its work.
- The Commission provided voters, candidates and observers, all information needed and answered their queries according to the Election Law of 2008, the rules of conduct, manual for counting voles and other booklets and brochures which have been prepared.
- The Commission admitted the shortcomings ascribed to it and addressed them according to the law.
• General Evaluation:
- The elections and the process of sorting and counting of ballots were carried out in an atmosphere of calmness, security, peace, transparency and freedom, and without any interventions or influences of any kind or nature. We as observers were welcomed and assisted. The queries raised in the polling stations which we visited were duly answered.