Turnout low as voting begins in Sudan's historic elections

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 11, 2010 12:34

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Three days of voting began Sunday in Sudan's first competitive elections in nearly a quarter century despite repeated opposition calls to delay the vote.

In Khartoum, turnout was lighter than expected in the first few hours of voting, aside from a few enthusiastic supporters of President Omar al-Bashir.

The elections, which will run through Tuesday, are an essential part of a 2005 peace deal that ended the north-south war that killed 2 million people over 21 years. They are designed to kick-start a democratic transformation in the war-plagued nation and provide a democratically elected government to prepare for a crucial southern referendum next year

But two major political parties, including the southerners, decided to pull out fully or partially from the race, saying the process lacks credibility and elections can't be held in the western Darfur region while under a state of emergency.


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