Southern Kordofan polling ends

5 May 2011

Southern Kordofan polling ends

4 May 2011 Polling closed today in Southern Kordofan with a turnout of more than half of registered voters, according to the State Elections High Committee.

There was just a trickle of voters going into polling centres on the last day of voting as most people cast their votes during the first two days of polling.

The only people at most polling centres visited on the last day were the polling staff, party agents, observers and the media.

"The process has remained peaceful," said Adam Abdin, chairperson of the State Elections High Committee. "We have not had any disruptions or violence. We are now ready to move on to the next step."

The National Elections Commission officially announced the end of voting at 6:00 p.m. today.

Counting of ballots for the governor and state assembly will begin tomorrow in polling centres around the state.

"We are going to stay here with the ballots overnight to make sure that the people's choices remain secure," said Munira Ibrahim Kanu, Sudan People's Liberation Movement party agent at Morta polling centre, when the centre closed voting at 6:00 p.m.

There was an obvious presence of police manning polling centres where ballot boxes were going to be stored for the night.

In a press conference at his residence after the close of polling, Southern Kordofan Governor Ahmed Haroun dispelled fears that, although the polling had been peaceful, violence was likely to break out when results were announced.

"We agreed with my fellow candidates that we would accept the result, whoever wins," said Mr. Haroun, who is in the race for governor with current Deputy Governor Abdulaziz Al-Hilu and Telefon Kuku. "We have all appealed to

our supporters to remain calm and maintain peace."

Counting of votes will begin tomorrow because there is a lack of power for lighting in many areas where polling centres are.

The training and procedures handbook for the electoral process also explains that it is important for polling staff to rest before they begin the process of sorting and counting ballots to avoid mistakes dues to fatigue.

"Polling staff will need to be attentive and alert ... because of the two types of elections and the different types of ballot papers used.... It is essential that they are well rested before they begin sorting," the manual reads.