By Tim Nanns
Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir won the national elections in a landslide victory with 94.5%, according to the announcement by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Monday.
Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on war crime charges, faced little to no opposition during the elections, with nearly all major opposition parties boycotting the elections.
According to the NEC, more than 5 million voted for Al-Bashir, with his closest rival far behind with 79,000 votes. The turnout of far less than 6 million voters means that only around 46% of the registered voters participated in the elections, excluding those who are not registered.
The opposition actually running in the election was identified by a leaked African Union (AU) report from March, as sympathisers or even “creations” of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). Despite its own criticism though, the AU decided to send observers to the election, thereby drawing heavy criticism from the opposition for granting credibility to the “forged” elections.
In its report on the elections, the AU only mildly criticised the Sudanese government, stating that the “suppression of human rights […] no doubt constrained and restrained participation in the electoral process”, but mostly keeping a low profile by concluding that “the results of the election would reflect the expression of the will of the voters of Sudan”.
Amnesty International (AI) was much sharper in its criticism on Thursday, with Deputy Regional Director Michelle Kagari stating that “there is a clear and ongoing pattern of violently suppressing dissenting voices”. AI also blames Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for several human rights violations, including the alleged abduction and torture of activists and journalists.
A Sudanese national living in Cairo told Daily News Egypt that Al-Bashir’s victory was no surprise since he was expected to win. The result of 94.5% was a sign, however, that “this election was obviously even more rigged than the other one”, referring to Al-Bashir winning 68.2% in 2010.
The 2010 election was met by harsh criticism from many observers, including Human Rights Watch, citing “political repression and human rights abuses across Sudan”. It is alleged these led, in combination with the election’s rigging, to the re-election of Al-Bashir.