from Africa in Transition

Watching Sudan

January 6, 2011

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Elections and Voting

Democratic Republic of Congo

Sudan

United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) troops from Zambia patrol the Abyei area in the wake of the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the borders of Abyei in this picture released on July 27, 2009. (Ho New/courtesy Reuters)

Along with the rest of the world, we are watching Sunday’s referendum. There is justified optimism that the vote will be better than most of us thought even only a few weeks ago. A referendum is easier to mount than an election – because the choice is between yes to independence or no. But the mechanical and technical challenges appear to have been met.

Everybody expects the vote to be overwhelmingly in favor of independence. But as Cote d’Ivoire shows, votes do not always resolve political crises, and most the fundamental issues foreseen by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement have not been addressed – largely because of Khartoum’s foot dragging.

I will be watching Abyei especially closely. Both North and South claim it, and it is a territory where Muslim pastoralists and Christian-Animist peasant farmers meet. Worse, it is also, apparently, awash with oil.

More on:

Elections and Voting

Democratic Republic of Congo

Sudan

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