April 14, 2015 / 2:43 PM / in 3 years

Logistics block voting at handful of centers in Sudan

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Logistical problems have hampered voting at a small number of polling stations in Sudan, the election body said on Tuesday, as voters headed to the polls for the second of three days to choose a president and parliament.

A woman walks with her ballot paper during elections in the capital Khartoum April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

As a result voting will be extended by two days at affected centers.

Most of the main opposition parties are boycotting the elections and government critics say there is little real competition against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in power since 1989, and his National Congress Party.

Around 160 centers out of 7,100 nationwide were not able to open on the first day of polls because ballot papers and other materials did not arrive in time, National Election Commission spokesman Hadi Muhammad Ahmad told reporters in Khartoum.

He said there would be an investigation into the problems which affected voting in parts of Gezira state, south of Khartoum, and several stations in central Darfur.

The government says violence has also prevented several areas from voting in the country, such as in the war-torn South Kordofan state, where one of the largest rebel groups said last week it had captured a truckload of ballots to prevent polling taking place.

Eyewitnesses speaking by telephone said rebels shelled and fired rockets into Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, on Tuesday. There were a number of wounded people in the city, where fear had spread among local people, they said.

Sudanese security forces are fighting insurgencies in Darfur and along the border with South Sudan. Citing this and regional turmoil, Bashir has presented himself as a stable figure best suited to combat chaos in the country.

His critics say the government has launched a crackdown on the opposition, media and civil society ahead of the polls where turnout appeared low in the capital on Monday.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Writing by Sylvia Westall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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