Sudan’s President Bashir Wins Another Term

BY Larisa Epatko  April 26, 2010 at 3:37 PM EDT


President Omar al-Bashir. Photo by Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir won re-election, according to official results released Monday, in elections held earlier in the month that independent monitors said fell short of international standards.

More than 10 million Sudanese voted April 11-15 in the country’s first multiparty presidential, parliamentary and local elections in 24 years. Several main opposition candidates boycotted the election, however, saying the process was rigged from the start in favor of Bashir’s National Congress Party.

Bashir garnered 68 percent of the 10.1 million votes cast, according to Abel Alier, head of Sudan’s National Electoral Commission.

He becomes the first head of state to be elected while facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court over allegations of war crimes committed in the western Darfur region. More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since fighting between rebels and government-aligned militias broke out in 2003.

The elections pave the way for a referendum, slated for January, in which the South will vote whether or not to become an independent country. Both votes were mandated under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended more than two decades of fighting between the mostly Muslim and Arab North, and rebels in the largely Christian-animist South.

“You gave us your trust,” said Bashir in a televised speech after his victory was declared. “I reaffirm I will go ahead with the southern referendum on time and complete the peace process in Darfur.”

The second-place finisher — Yasir Arman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, or SPLM, the major party in the South — received nearly 22 percent of the vote. Even though he was one of the candidates who withdrew, his name still appeared on the ballot.

Salva Kiir of the SPLM won nearly 93 percent of the vote to remain president of the South’s semi-autonomous government.

International monitors, including from the U.S.-based Carter Center, said the elections were marred by logistical problems, such as incomplete voter lists and insufficient ballots, in addition to reports of intimidation, but they did not call for a new vote.