, KHARTOUM, Nov 23 – Sudan\’s National Electoral Commission said on Sunday it is giving people another week to register to vote in the country\’s first elections in 24 years, scheduled for April.
Registration of the 20 million potential electors began on November 1 and was supposed to close at the end of the month, but opposition parties and Southern former rebels requested a two-week extension.
The commission compromised by delaying the closing date until December 7, and by ruling that registration offices should remain open during the Eid al-Adha holiday from next Thursday to Sunday.
"So far eight million people have registered," al-Hadi Mohammed Ahmed, head of the registration committee, told AFP.
"We extended the registration period by a week at the request of political parties and also because of internal reports of a rush of registrations in the last few days," he said.
The opposition on Sunday again complained of "irregularities" in voter registration, in particular concerning members of the military who, unlike others, can sign up in the constituency where they work rather than where they live.
The staging of a general election in 2010 was one of the key chapters of a peace deal struck in 2005 to end a 22-year civil war between Sudan\\\\\\\’s southern region and the Khartoum government in which two million people died.
The national vote will be the first in Sudan since 1986, three years before President Omar al-Beshir toppled a democratically elected government in a bloodless military coup, and the fifth since independence in 1956.
The peace agreement also provides for a referendum in January 2011 on independence for south Sudan.