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The Carter Center Notes Concerns With Security in South Kordofan, Progress in Polling Preparations

CONTACTS: Khartoum: Barbara Smith +249 901 143 443, 
Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +1 404 420 5124

The Carter Center is concerned by recent deteriorations in South Kordofan's security environment and calls on all sides to promote a genuine and credible polling process for the state. Although the recently concluded candidate nomination period was largely conducted transparently, efficiently, and peacefully, there have been worrying developments during the campaign period. In particular, The Carter Center is concerned about the armed conflict that broke out in El Faid and reportedly resulted in dozens of casualties. Continuing tensions between rival candidates in certain areas could negatively affect voter turnout, impact the results, and therefore reduce the credibility of the electoral process.

With the conclusion of the campaign period fast approaching, it is critical that the Government of Sudan, Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), state authorities, political parties, and other stakeholders work together to diminish tensions in South Kordofan refrain from negative campaign rhetoric, and promote peaceful participation in the electoral process. To this end, the Center also encourages the GoSS to release gubernatorial candidate Telefon Kuku to campaign in accordance with his political rights prescribed under the National Elections Act or announce formal charges that justify his continued detention. Despite flaws noted in regard to candidate nominations and campaigns, there remains an important window before the start of polling for all sides to commit to ensuring a genuine, credible election that reflects the will of the people of South Kordofan.

The Center commends the National Elections Commission and State High Election Committee on progress with electoral preparations and the institution of improved complaints measures. The Center appeals to all political contestants to raise concerns or complaints regarding the process to the election authorities so that they may be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The Carter Center will deploy 24 observers to monitor the South Kordofan gubernatorial and state legislative elections starting on May 2. These include a core team of analysts as well as long-term observers who have been in South Kordofan observing the voter registration and campaign periods. They will be joined by short-term observers to observe the last day of the campaign, polling, counting, and tabulation processes. Observers will be deployed in teams of two in seven localities around the state. They will travel to a number of different polling centers and constituencies over the course of the election. The observation mission represents 14 different nations including Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

The Center has maintained a presence in South Kordofan since November 2009, initially observing voter registration for the April 2010 elections. The Carter Center released a statement on the voter registration process for the South Kordofan elections on March 24, 2011, based on observations in 19 of the state's 32 constituencies. The full report, available at, covers the nomination and campaign periods. The Carter Center plans to release a report on the electoral process after results have been tabulated.

The Carter Center assesses electoral processes in Sudan based on Sudan's obligations in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Sudan's Interim National Constitution, the National Elections Act, the Political Parties Act, as well as Sudan's international treaty obligations. The objectives of the Center's observation mission in South Kordofan are to provide an impartial assessment of the overall quality of the electoral process, promote an inclusive process for all in South Kordofan, and demonstrate international interest in the electoral process.

The Center's observation mission is conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and has been endorsed by 35 election observation groups. The Center will release periodic public statements on referendum findings, available on its website:

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The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. For more than 20 years, The Center has worked to improve health and prevent and resolve conflict in Sudan. Please to learn more.

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