Top UN envoy in Sudan welcomes approval of independent election body

18 November 2008The top United Nations envoy to Sudan today welcomed the approval by the vast African nation’s National Assembly of the independent and impartial body responsible for organizing and conducting elections. These polls are one of the benchmarks of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan. In a statement, Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said that he welcomes the members of the new National Elections Commission (NEC).He also said that he pledges the support of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as UNMIS, to “support and assist with preparations for the national, southern Sudan and state elections to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with the provisions and spirit of the CPA.”Earlier this month, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet told that Security Council that progress is being made in putting that accord into place, but obstacles such as the holding of elections remain.In an October visit to Sudan, Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, met in Juba with Southern Sudanese officials, who acknowledged that it is necessary to set a date for elections with the National Congress Party (NCP).Meanwhile, the NCP said that it expects the polls to take place before the July 2009 deadline.“However, this target date falls in the middle of the rainy season, during which the preparation and holding of elections would be near impossible,” Mr. Mulet said. read more