Special to the NNPA from the GIN –
(GIN) A decisive electoral victory by Omar Hassan al-Bashir has returned the controversial Sudanese leader to a new 5-year term as president of this important oil-rich country in east Africa.
Al-Bashir won 68 percent of the votes. Under electoral law, he needed to surpass 50 percent to avoid a run-off election against his nearest competitor.
A parallel vote to elect the president of the semi-autonomous south was won by the incumbent, Salva Kiir with 93 per cent of southern votes.
The men will renew their coalition government, as the country moves towards a referendum on independence for the south due next January.
The victory was called “fraudulent”, “marred” and a win for a war-crimes suspect (al-Bashir) in western media reports. But according to Sudanese writer Nesrine Malik, writing in the Guardian newspaper, the Sudanese election didn’t need fraud.
“People are starting to accept that Bashir, 20 years after coming to power via a military coup, has established himself as the only choice for president,” Malik wrote, citing the last minute withdrawals by candidates Yasir Arman and Sadiq al-Mahdi.
“…There is an entire generation that knows nothing but Bashir. They grew up in a Sudan shaped, culturally and socially by the Bashir’s party... In Khartoum, most people are just grateful to be able to eat out in the plethora of new restaurants and go about their business without fear of a curfew guillotine or security forces.”
Commenting for the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Africa director Georgette Gagnon said: "Our concerns go beyond technical irregularities. Bashir belongs in The Hague responding to the serious charges against him (concerning alleged war-crimes in Darfur), for which victims have still seen no accountability."
Nevertheless, Pres. Al-Bashir found a warm welcome in Egypt one day after his electoral victory. The presidents of the two nations have been allies for years. A video of Sudanese rappers and a discussion of the elections can be found at http://www.linktv.org/video/5365/sudanese-elections-music-the-vote-with-nasjota-and-girifna
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