Against a fractured and weakened opposition, Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir remains the strongest contender in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. Nathan Frandino reports.
With his supporters out in force and no real opposition, Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is poised to win his country's presidential election next week. This, despite a boycott by the main opposition parties. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SUDAN'S PRESIDENT, OMAR HASSAN AL-BASHIR, SAYING: "For those who say that the elections should be postponed, we say that the election is the right of the citizens because they determine who their representatives are in the legislative council and the federal legislature besides selecting their president." The 71-year-old describes himself as a rock of stability, saying the country would become a haven for extremists under a different president. Sudan already faces a rebellion in the Darfur region. As well as another insurgency in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Bashir's opponents, like presidential candidate Mohammed Awad Al Baroudi, accuse him of monopolizing the media and cracking down on civil society and the opposition. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MOHAMMED AWAD AL BAROUDI SAYING: "We entered into this electoral battle without any funding against a ruling party which has access to many resources. The media has very clearly been biased and almost 90 percent of the time was helpful to the ruling party only." Bashir is campaigning on issues such as improving access to water and farmland. Both issues greatly affect nearly half of Sudan's population of 37 million people who live in poverty. But on the streets of Khartoum, many remain disillusioned and apathetic. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) KHARTOUM RESIDENT, MOHAMMED IBRAHIM, SAYING: "The press write about this election, candidates talk about the elections, there are posters on the streets; but we - the majority of the Sudanese people - are not concerned about these elections and we don't care about them." The elections will be held April 13 through the 15th.