Coup Prime Minister Hamdok’s office received various organizations mandated with supporting the elections process in Sudan.
According to a source present at the meeting, the session came up with questions and challenges that require to be addressed before a roadmap for the supposed July 2023 elections in Sudan – according to Hamdok’s plan – can be established.
Participants from UNITAMS, the UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, the British Embassy, International IDEA, the NDI, and the IFES were all present in the meeting.
The meeting agreed that elections should be led principally by Sudan and that UN and other international actors will only provide support, technical assistance, and experience.
According to the source, the UNITAMS’ main concern was whether “the elections will be parliamentary or non-parliamentary.”
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) representative, country director Shalva Kipshidze, said that international organizations were not meant to “lead but to provide” and asked what the legal status of the work that has been done until now will be.
National Democratic Institute representative Samia Mahjoub asked whether “the legal framework developed before the change will be valid in the current scenario.”
For his part, Omer Gemereldin, Hamdok’s advisor on International Cooperation, stated that the matter of the elections being parliamentary or not is linked with the form of government that Sudan will have in future, which will be revealed in the constitutional conference.
Members of Hamdok’s office confirmed that July 2023 will be the timeframe for elections, which led to the UNITAMS’ members expressing reservations and noting that the Sudanese government ought to be mindful of “all related processes, including the census, which is intrinsically linked to election administration” before committing to this date.
The issue of Election Management Bodies (EMBs), and whether they would be sustained and reformed or new institutions will be formed, could also carry “major implications on the timeline announced”, as put forward by IFES during the meeting.
International IDEA representative Parvinder Singh also reiterated UNITAMS concerns, to which Omar Gemereldin responded that Sudan has had “democracy in its DNA” and has been holding elections since 1954.
The advisor also mentioned that the meetings’ participants should engage with political parties in regards to the government needing to consider and address the gaps in involving the media and political parties.
UNITAMS had volunteered to “prepare a calendar highlighting all the milestones that need to be achieved before holding the elections.”
The transition assistance mission in Sudan also agreed to prepare a list of all questions raised by the international organizations and to have it sent to Hamdok’s office.
The source also revealed that the meeting organizers were unsure about what they wanted to achieve from the meeting, and had no concrete answers to the questions put forth by participants, but promised to deliver all queries to the putschist government’s Prime Minister.