In 11 April elections in Sudan, the African country’s first multi-party contest in almost 25 years, the incumbent president, Omar al-Bashir, was re-elected decisively, gaining 68.2 percent of the vote. Despite pulling out of the election, citing unsubstantiated claims of fraud, Yasir Arman, of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which rules the autonomous south of the country, came in second with 21.7 percent of the vote.
These elections, and President Bashir’s overwhelming victory, were a decisive slap in the face for the imperialist powers, which have been waging an incessant campaign against the country because of its independent stand, not least its support for the resistance movements in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its close friendship with China.
Even before the pullout of the SPLM, the 11 April elections in Sudan promised to be some of the most complicated in the world. In addition to being the first multi-party elections in Sudan in 20 years, the elections precede an 11 January 2011 referendum on independence for the southern part of the country. Both elections result from the 2005 Naivasha Agreement, which ended Sudan’s 22-year-long civil war.
President Bashir has campaigned heavily in Darfur, signing peace agreements with the two most prominent rebel groups and renewing ties with the government of Chad, whose proxy war with Sudan, provoked and financed by western imperialist interests, helped to fuel the conflicts in Darfur and to prevent them being settled by negotiation.
President Bashir is the only serving head of state to be the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is essentially a totally one-sided and illegitimate creation of the European imperialist powers set up in such a way that it could never be used to bring charges without the consent of the imperialist powers.. However, President Bashir travels freely throughout much of the world. The court and its warrant are quite rightly not recognised by such key groupings of developing countries as the African Union, the League of Arab States and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Ironically, April’s election was imposed on Sudan by western powers as part of a 2005 deal to end long years of civil war, in which the south of the country was seeking secession, something that looks likely to happen in 2011, as the peace agreement provides for a referendum on whether or not the country should be divided. Imperialist powers are keen to rig up a separate state in the south as such a process of ‘divide-and-rule’ is seen as the best way to grab hold of Sudan’s vast oil wealth.
The imperialist powers, when oil was discovered in southern Sudan some 30 years ago, suddenly began to take an enormous interest in the genuine grievances of the south Sudanese people, who mostly profess christianity along with traditional African religions, in contrast to the strongly muslim north, not out of any genuine humanitarian interest but purely in the interests of getting cheap oil at the expense of the Sudanese people of both north and south.
When the referendum on the secession of the south is held next year, if it results in a separate state being formed, then this state will have a hard fight on its hands if it wishes to avoid complete subservience to the imperialist powers. It would be far more in the interests of the people of southern Sudan that, securing safeguards against discrimination and guarantees of fair budget distribution, it remained as an autonomous region of Sudan.
Be that as it may, anti-imperialists demand respect for Sudan’s sovereignty and the right of the Sudanese people to choose their own leaders, as well as the kind of system under which they would like to live. We oppose all imperialist interference, direct or indirect, in the country’s affairs.