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April 20, 2010

NYTIMES U.S. Slams Irregularities In Sudan Election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House charged on Tuesday that Sudan's national elections were plagued by "serious irregularities" and said it was committed to helping ensure a 2011 referendum on southern Sudanese independence was conducted fairly.

Early results from the election, the oil-producing nation's first in 24 years, suggest President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his party are headed for a strong win in presidential and parliamentary polls marred by boycotts and alleged fraud. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of war crimes in the Darfur region.

Much of the opposition boycotted the proceedings before voting started, citing irregularities, and observers have already said the elections did not meet international standards.
"Political rights and freedoms were circumscribed throughout the electoral process, there were reports of intimidation and threats of violence in South Sudan, ongoing conflict in Darfur did not permit an environment conducive to acceptable elections, and inadequacies in technical preparations for the vote resulted in serious irregularities," the White House said in a statement.
"The United States regrets that Sudan's National Elections Commission did not do more to prevent and address such problems prior to voting," it said.
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