Sudan votes amid opposition boycott against Bashir

  • Published
Media caption,

Early reports suggest a low turnout, as James Copnall reports from Khartoum

Sudanese voters have taken part in elections expected to be won by its war-crimes-indicted president after the main opposition called for a boycott.

Small queues formed at polling stations, with voters saying the elections guaranteed stability.

The opposition and Western powers said the polls lacked credibility because of political repression.

Omar al-Bashir has been charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide over the Darfur conflict.

The 71-year-old president, who has been in power since 1989, denies the charges.

'Power struggles'

The African Union (AU) has rejected the ICC's attempts to have him arrested, arguing that Mr Bashir enjoys presidential immunity and therefore cannot be tried while in office.

Media caption,

BBC Africa tells you what you need to know about Sudan ahead of its presidential elections

Sudan election:

  • President Omar al-Bashir is up against 15 little-known candidates
  • 44 parties are taking part in the parliamentary poll

Key issues:

  • US relations - lifting economic sanctions and getting the country removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism
  • Securing peace - there is fighting in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile
  • Economy - when the South Sudan seceded, the country lost most of its vital oil revenues

The BBC's James Copnall reports from Khartoum that there was a large crowd where Mr Bashir was voting, but most of them were journalists and security personnel.

Amjad Farid, spokesman for the Sudan Change Now protest group, said his wife Sandra Farouk Kodouda was detained on the eve of the polls as she went to address an anti-election rally.

The authorities have not confirmed her arrest.

Ahmed Sulieman, a university professor, said he was voting as it was the only way to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power.

"Many countries are suffering amid power struggles,'' Mr Sulieman told Associated Press news agency.

"I am here for the sake of stability and safety," he added.

Mr Bashir is being challenged by 15 little-known candidates, after the main opposition parties denounced the polls as a sham.

The UK, US and Norway have said in a statement that "an environment conducive to participatory and credible elections does not exist" in Sudan.

The three countries form a troika which has been trying to resolve differences between the government and opposition.

Around the BBC