April 17, 2015, 4:42 p.m.
Sudan held elections on April 13, 2015 for its 354-seat National Assembly (Majlis Watani) and Presidency. These elections were the first since the historic referendum leading to the creation of South Sudan in 2011. Yet the aftermath of this election—the continuation of President Bashir’s Presidency and the National Congress Party’s 25-year stint in power—suggests major challenges for credible elections in Sudan.
While 44 political parties registered for the polls, the NCP ran virtually unopposed, in part aided by the boycott of major opposition groups, and their calls for the Sudanese people to boycott the vote. Turnout for this election is recorded as low, while noting an absence of reliable figures. Furthermore, international observer groups were largely absent from this election, in fear of an international observer presence legitimizing a questionable democratic process. Prior to this election, regional observer group the African Union (AU) recommended the postponement of these elections and a national dialogue be prioritized, after conducting an assessment that flagged serious concerns about the credibility of the electoral process. Despite these findings the AU was present in Sudan on Election Day along with observers from the Arab League, East African bloc, and IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development).
In the presidential contest, a total of 15 candidates participated, including the only female candidate Fatima Abd-al-Mahmud of the Sudanese Socialist Democratic Union (SSDU). In 2010 the candidate made history by being the first woman to run for president in Sudan.