14 December - Ashraf Qazi welcomes the Peaceful Conclusion of the Voter Registration Period in Sudan

14 Dec 2009

14 December - Ashraf Qazi welcomes the Peaceful Conclusion of the Voter Registration Period in Sudan

Today, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special representative for Sudan, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, welcomed the culmination of the voter registration exercise, which was conducted peacefully throughout the country, registering more than 15 million voters, over 75 % of the estimated voting-age population.

The National Elections Commission on 7 December wrapped up the most inclusive voter registration exercise ever held in the Sudan. Registration centers were opened throughout the country, and millions came to register in person between 1 November and 7 December. In previous elections, large parts of the country were unable to participate in elections due to more than 20 years of civil war that divided the North and South.

According to unofficial figures released by the National Elections Commission, over 75% of the nearly 21 million Sudanese citizens who were eligible to register did so peacefully.

Mr Qazi commended the National Elections Commission for launching the national exercise according to schedule and extending it an additional seven days in order to make the process more inclusive.

"The completion of voter registration is a significant benchmark in the electoral process as the voters' list is the basis for next year's elections. We are now one step closer to the holding of Sudan's first multi-party elections in 24 years and to achieving a major milestone in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. " said Qazi.

While applauding the conclusion of voter registration, Qazi urged the Sudanese people to help ensure the integrity of the voters' list by participating in the current Exhibition and Objection period which began on 10 December. During this period, registered voters have the opportunity to confirm their names on the preliminary voters' list, request corrections if errors have been made, and object to the inclusion of any ineligible persons on the list.

To further ensure the integrity of the voters' list, he also called upon the National Elections Commission to quickly and completely investigate any complaints raised by political parties about alleged irregularities in the voter registration exercise and to take steps to file charges against those responsible. This is crucial for the credibility of the exercise.

Qazi thanked the CPA parties for their part in ensuring an inclusive and peaceful voter registration process, but he urged them to ensure that their members abide by and respect the rules of the NEC. "The CPA parties are the ones responsible for ensuring that the environment for conducting these elections is an open and fair one, avoiding any malpractices and irregularities that would otherwise compromise or destroy the integrity and credibility of the upcoming elections and referendum," he added.

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