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Sudan: Elections

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking (a) to assist the facilitation of elections in the Sudan in 2009 and (b) to ensure that such elections are free, fair and inclusive. (134931)

Supporting a free, fair and inclusive election process is a core commitment of the Government of National Unity and the International Community under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and it is important that both sides deliver on their commitments. The first step is for the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) to formulate the Election Law and for this to be passed by the National Assembly. The Election Law will establish the National Electoral Commission which will be responsible for the running of the elections. DFID and other donors have provided support to the NCRC to assist in preparation of the Election Law. Once the Election Law is passed a full programme of election support will be provided jointly with other donors. This will include training for the National Assembly in Election Law to ensure effective scrutiny of the Election Bill, and support for a monitoring and observation process to ensure effective oversight of the preparations for elections, and the election themselves.

DFID has already provided support for the consultations around the elections process, nationally and in the South. We have also sponsored a visit for four members of the NCRC to observe the Scottish Elections on 3 May. This will provide an opportunity for Sudanese officials to witness a “mixed” electoral system in operation, a model which may be applicable for Sudan.

DFID is also working with the embassy on a joint programme to boost the capacity of political parties, and to provide training for journalists on the reporting of elections. Together, we have initiated a working group with members from the international community in Khartoum, which meets regularly to ensure that we are approaching this task together.