Sudan Counts Votes as African Union Says Turnout ‘Generally Low’

Sudan began counting votes for presidential and legislative elections as African Union observers estimated about two-thirds of registered voters may not have participated.

Turnout may have been between 30 percent and 35 percent over four days of voting, Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian president and head of the African Union electoral observation mission, was cited as saying by Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency. At least 13.3 million people were registered to vote from Sudan’s 35.5 million population, according to the National Elections Commission.

“There was a generally low turnout of voters throughout the voting days,” the African Union mission said in an e-mailed statement. It’s “not unlikely” that opposition calls for a boycott had some effect on participation, it said.

Sudan’s vote, originally scheduled for April 13-15, was extended a day to allow the largest possible electorate, according to the national committee. President Umar al-Bashir, who has ruled for a quarter-century, is widely expected to win after the main opposition parties didn’t field candidates.

Political activists urged a boycott and rebels in the country’s south fired rockets at major towns in an effort to disrupt the polls.

As ballots are counted in 16 of the country’s 18 states, polling will continue in al-Jazeera and North Darfur until Saturday because of a delay in delivering voting materials, SUNA reported. Sudan is due to announce the results on April 27.

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