[JURIST] Rival political parties in Sudan [JURIST news archive] have accused each other of fraud, torture, intimidation, and sabotage as voters began registering Sunday for the first democratic multi-party elections in almost a quarter of a century, slated for April of next year. The dominant National Congress Party (NCP) [party website] has been accused of buying votes, using government resources for their campaign, and busing people into areas for registration where they do not currently reside. The NCP and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) [FAS backgrounder] comprise the current coalition government created pursuant to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) [UN press release] that ended two decades of civil war. Both parties have been disagreeing on sensitive electoral issues [Sudan Tribune report] relating to the required number of voters needed to recognize the voting process and to declare the independence of Southern Sudan.
Last November, the Sudanese parliament approved the appointment of a nine-member independent electoral commission [JURIST report] to oversee the upcoming vote. In July 2008, the parliament passed a long-anticipated electoral law [JURIST report] dictating how the country's parliamentary seats will be allotted. The law reserves some seats for candidates chosen by popular vote, and some for proportional representation of political parties including seats reserved for women. Following the signing of the CPA, the country also approved a new constitution and installed a new government, and the country's state of emergency was lifted [JURIST reports], except in Darfur and a region on the eastern border.