Sudanese Elections Enter Second Day Amid Reports of Low Turnout

Sudan began a second day of voting amid reports of a low turnout in elections the president of the North African nation, Umar al-Bashir, is widely expected to win.

Polling stations in Sudan’s Nile River, Red Sea, al-Jazeera and Northern states all saw limited numbers of voters on Monday, according to al-Tareeq, a news website based in the capital, Khartoum, which cited its own correspondents. At one station in a middle-class neighborhood, an unidentified election employee said only 3 percent of more than 3,000 registered voters had attended that day, the Associated Press reported.

Turnout on Monday was “average,” with state capitals seeing “relatively high” numbers in the middle of the day, according to Mohamed Abdullah, spokesman for the National Group of Civil Society Organizations in Sudan, which he said has 14,000 observers nationwide. Villages saw “relatively low” attendance, while no major violations were reported, he said by phone from Khartoum.

Al-Bashir, who has ruled Sudan for a quarter-century, is competing against 15 candidates in April 13-15 elections. The major opposition parties have declined to field presidential or parliamentary candidates and the National Consensus Forces, an opposition coalition, is campaigning for a boycott.

Rebels in the border state of Southern Kordofan said they fired rockets at army positions in Dilling town on Monday, following up on a threat to disrupt the vote. A local official said two children were injured.

NCF spokesman Abu Bakr Youssef said Monday that at least 15 political activists urging a boycott had been detained. The ruling National Congress Party said an unspecified number of people had been arrested for seeking to interrupt polling.

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