Voting has started in Sudan in the first of three days of presidential and parliamentary elections.
The result is a foregone conclusion, analysts say: incumbent President Omar al-Bashir is most likely to win.
In power since 1989, Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) are going up against a handful of minor candidates. Most of the main opposition parties have boycotted the vote.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes. However, during his campaign he pledged peace, development and improvements for the economy in Sudan’s first presidential election since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
Great Britain, the US and Norway have criticised the voting system, saying Sudan is left without an “inclusive political process.”
The EU shares a similar position. Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini declared the election “cannot produce a credible result with legitimacy throughout the country.”
However, Professor Mukhtar Al-Assam disagreed. Speaking to Voice of America, the head of Sudan’s Independent Electoral Commission claimed the vote would be fair.
“It is free and fair, because all candidates are allowed to have their representatives in the polling stations to stay with ballot boxes until the results are announced,” he said, adding: “So, there is no way that this election is going to be not free.”
Voting is expected to end on Wednesday (April 15).