US urges Sudan to tackle election rows 'impartially'

19th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States, Britain and Norway on Monday urged Sudan's election body to tackle "effectively and impartially" disputes from the country's first multi-party poll in 24 years.

International observers said the polls -- which much of the Sudanese opposition had boycotted amid charges that they had been rigged by the ruling party -- had failed to meet international standards.

In a statement on behalf of the troika of the United States, Britain and Norway, the State Department said it noted the verdict of the international observers from Europe and the United States.

"We are reassured that voting passed reasonably peacefully, reportedly with significant participation, but share their serious concerns about weak logistical and technical preparations and reported irregularities in many parts of Sudan," it said.

It also noted "the limited access of observer missions" in the western conflict-torn region of Darfur.

"We regret that the National Elections Commission (NEC) did not do more to prevent and address such problems prior to voting," the statement said.

"We strongly encourage the NEC to address in good faith any legitimate disputes effectively and impartially," it said.

The NEC said on Monday that results from the election, which had originally expected on Tuesday, would be delayed.

The Sudanese people had five days to vote for their president as well as legislative and local representatives in the country's first multi-party election since 1986 which ended on Thursday.

The election is likely to see the return to power of President Omar al-Beshir, who seized control of Africa's largest country in a military coup backed by Islamists in 1989.

A significant part of the opposition had boycotted the election, accusing Beshir's ruling National Congress Party of rigging the vote, which was marred by delays and logistical problems.

International observers from the Carter Center and the European Union said on Saturday that the polls had failed to reach international standards.

© 2010 AFP

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