Sudan postpones elections for constitutional amendment

'Would have become a complicated legal issue'

KHARTOUM - Sudan's electoral body said Tuesday it postponed elections to allow parliament to consider a constitutional amendment allowing President Omar al-Bashir to appoint state governors who were to have been elected.
The National Electoral Commission pushed back polling by 11 days to April 13. It also postponed the date for candidates to apply to stand, from December 31 to January 11.
NEC chief Mukhtar al-Assam told journalists parliament "is currently looking at amending the constitution" and that if candidates had applied to stand for state governor before the amendment allowing Bashir to appoint the position was passed, it would "have become a complicated legal issue".
Bashir proposed the change to the constitution last month, and parliament will vote on it in early January.
Opposition parties have criticised Bashir's decision to stand for reelection in April, and it is expected that many people will boycott the elections.
The NEC said it had received no applications from foreign organisations to act as observers in the April vote.
"We have not received any requests to monitor the elections by foreign or world organisations up to now. Applications for monitoring will end on December 30," NEC official Atta Bashir said at a news conference on Tuesday.
The elections will be only the second since Bashir seized power 25 years ago in an Islamist-backed coup.
A vote which Bashir won in 2010 was marred by opposition boycotts, with monitors saying the process failed to meet international standards.