Darfur Referendum to Take Place On 1st of July – Electoral Body

Khartoum — Darfurians will vote on the first day of next July to determine the administrative status of the region, announced the National Election Commission on Sunday.

To break the deadlock in the peace talks with the rebel groups in Doha, Khartoum announced last March a referendum on the administrative reshaping of the region. The voter will decide if they support the establishment of one regional authority or not.

Presidential adviser tasked with Darfur file, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen said the referendum comes in accordance with the Abuja peace agreement signed in May 2006 with the former peace partner and now rebel again Minni Minnawi.

“The National Elections Commission will work on completing the referendum no later than the first of July 2011. The vote will be conducted during a period of two days,” said a statement released by the electoral body.

The Commission further said the voting register of April 2010 general elections will be updated and state electoral committees are formed. It also said it adopted a plan for a regional campaign to raise awareness and explain the purpose of the referendum.

The rebel groups in Doha reject the conduct of the referendum saying they are only committed by the outcome of framework agreement signed last year providing that the administrative status should be agreed by the parties at the negotiating table.

The mediator will submit a draft peace agreement to the parties within three days on 27 April. However, despite the progress made with the Justice and equality Movement (JEM) in different files, the rebel groups emphasizes an agreement on the administrative status should be reached in Doha.