Sudan’s Bashir says foreign criticism will not affect polls

Results from elections for the presidency and state and national parliaments are due on Monday

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir Friday labeled foreign critics of last week’s general elections, which he is widely expected to win, as “colonialist parties” and said they would have no effect on the polls.

Britain, Norway and the United States had issued a joint statement criticizing Khartoum for failing “to create a free, fair, and conducive elections environment.”

The 71-year-old career soldier said international groups who observed the polls “acknowledged their fairness and transparency but, despite that, some colonialist parties were not satisfied”.

“This will not affect the democratic process,” he said.

Bashir made the comments at a meeting in Khartoum of representatives from east African defense ministries.

He hailed the elections as a success because Sudan held them despite “the oppressive blockade and the unjustifiable targeting for more than 25 years”.

Since Bashir seized power in 1989, Sudan has sunk into international isolation and was slapped with a US trade embargo in 1997 over charges including alleged rights abuses.

Bashir is widely expected to extend his rule in the polls, in which he faced 13 little-known challengers and which were boycotted by the mainstream opposition.

Even before the four-day elections started on April 13, European Union foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said they would not produce “credible” results because of Bashir’s failure to establish a national dialogue.

Last year, Bashir announced the dialogue to address Sudan’s faltering economy and conflicts in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur areas, but the talks have yet to start.

The International Criminal Court indicted Bashir over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, where the U.N. says more than 300,000 people have been killed since 2003.

Results from elections for the presidency and state and national parliaments are due on Monday.

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