Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Sudanese voters began voting on Monday in general elections expected to extend the 25-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party.

wpid-omar-al-bashir-451x300.jpgSudan’s main opposition parties are boycotting the April 13-15 election, which means al-Bashir will face 15 candidates who are running on independent platforms or whose parties are little known in the country of 38 million people.

Many of the 13.3 million registered voters were expected to join the boycott of Sudan’s first elections since the oil-rich east African nation split from South Sudan in 2011.

About 70,000 police officers have been stationed at almost 7,000 polling stations across the country to prevent potential unrest, according to local newspaper Sunday Tribune.

Al-Bashir, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1989 and has won three elections since, heads one of Africa’s most repressive regimes.

The 71-year-old president is accused of adopting legislation that boosted his powers, repressing demonstrations and arresting opponents.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir for war crimes and genocide in Sudan’s conflict region Dafur in 2008.

The European Union warned the elections “cannot produce a credible result with legitimacy throughout the country.”

Polling stations are expected to close at 6.00 pm (1500 GMT). The vote count is expected to start on Thursday, but results will not be announced before April 27, according to observers.

GNA

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