Monday, April 26, 2010

'Election' Results in Sudan

It was neck and neck in the Sudan elections for about...well, actually, it was never neck and neck, and the "election" results were pretty much a foregone conclusion before anyone bothered (or was coerced) to cast a ballot. FYI, the sitting despot "won" by a landslide. From the NYT:
NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan’s incumbent president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, handily won the country’s first multiparty election in more than 20 years, according to results released on Monday, offering a glimpse into the kind of lopsided contests that may continue if the nation splits in two next year as expected.
Mr. Bashir got 68 percent of the vote, though many international observers said the election was marred by intimidation, gerrymandering and fraud. Right before the voting started in mid-April, several of the top opposition parties abruptly dropped out of the race, clearing a path for Mr. Bashir.

In southern Sudan, which is preparing to vote on whether to split off from the north and become its own country, the incumbent there, Salva Kiir, prevailed as well, winning 93 percent of the vote to remain president of that semiautonomous region.

The results were neither surprising nor evidence of a sudden blossoming of democracy. But that does not necessarily mean the election was insignificant. It was essentially Step One of what could be a very messy divorce.

Southern Sudan is expected to secede next year from Sudan, which could bring turbulence to the largest country in Africa, at nearly one million square miles. The southern Sudanese, who are mostly Christian and animist, have been chafing for independence from northern Arab domination since Sudan became independent in 1956, and have fought two long civil wars with the north since then. Some names for Africa’s next country are already being floated. “New Sudan” is one of them. “South Sudan” is another...
"Janjaweed Fodder" is still another.

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