KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir scored overwhelming victories in a sample of results from national elections marred by fraud accusations and boycotts, state media reported on Sunday.
Both European Union and Carter Center observers have said last week’s elections did not meet international standards, but stopped short of echoing opposition allegations of widespread rigging.
The polls, set up under a 2005 peace deal that ended two decades of north-south civil war, were supposed to help transform the troubled oil-producing nation into a democracy.
Bashir won between 70-92 percent of votes cast in around 35 scattered polling centers, foreign voting posts and one state, the state Suna news agency reported. The figures have not been confirmed by the National Elections Commission and represent a fraction of the country.
A senior official from Bashir’s dominant National Congress Party said he was expecting similar results across Sudan.
“This victory is a real victory … The counting of the votes took place under the sun, not in a dark room. The observers saw everything,” Rabie Abdelati told Reuters.
Opposition groups said the huge majorities proved their accusations that the NCP had rigged the vote in the north, justifying the decision of many of them to boycott.
“This proves what we said: that this election is false from A to Z. It was planned from the beginning,” said Farouk Abu Issa, spokesman for a loose coalition of opposition groups.
“If he thinks that being re-elected by a big majority will protect him from the International Criminal Court, he is mistaken.”
Analysts say Bashir is keen to win a convincing victory to legitimize his rule and fend off International Criminal Court charges that he masterminded war crimes during the running seven-year conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
Bashir was always likely to win the presidency after most of his main rivals, including candidates from the opposition Umma party and south Sudan’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), pulled out of the race alleging fraud.
The president of Sudan’s semi-autonomous south and SPLM leader Salva Kiir is also likely to win the vote to keep his job, maintaining the status quo as the country prepares for a referendum on southern secession in January 2011.
Both the current elections and the looming referendum were promised under the 2005 peace deal.
According to Suna, Sudanese expatriates overwhelmingly supported Bashir in polling centers set up in Libya, Oman, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, with majorities of between 77 and 92 percent.
The state agency said Bashir had secured 90 per cent of the votes for the presidency in the country’s Northern State.
There were similar majorities recorded in individual voting centers across northern Sudan, said Suna.
At one station in Khartoum’s notorious Kober prison, Suna added, Bashir won 851 out of 1,234 votes.
The National Elections Commission has delayed issuing official results but says it will begin on Sunday. Election officials in south Sudan said some results might be delayed until Tuesday, the official deadline for announcements.