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Majlis Watani (National Assembly)

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Parliament name The National Legislature
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Majlis Watani / National Assembly
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Majlis Welayat / Council of States
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) (from/to)11 April 2010
15 April 2010
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all seats in the National Assembly.
In April 2010, elections to the 450-seat National Assembly were held in parallel with presidential and state assembly polls. Once constituted, each of the 25 state assemblies would elect two members to the Council of States, the upper chamber, which would also comprise two observers from the Abyei Area Council.

The 2010 elections were the first to be held under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed by President Omar Al-Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) and the South Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in January 2005. The CPA ended the civil war - that had started in 1983 between the predominantly Muslim North and the mainly Christian and animist South.

Under the CPA, the elections had been due by July 2009 but were postponed several times because of the time required to pass a new electoral law (finally adopted in July 2008) and the delay in completing the national census. The official results of the census were announced in May 2009: a total population of 39 million, of which 8 million lived in the south. The extension of the voter registration period further delayed the polls.

In the previous elections held in December 2000, boycotted by most opposition parties, President Al-Bashir's NCP took 355 of the 360 seats in the then National Assembly. Mr. Al-Bashir had come to power through a military coup in June 1989, ousting Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. He maintained the enforcement of Sharia law across the country, and launched a military campaign to control the South. In 1993, he declared himself President. He was elected President in 1996 and 2000.

Based on the CPA, a national unity government was sworn in in September 2005. The NCP held 52 per cent of the 74 government posts, while the SPLM had 28 per cent. Neither the northern opposition National Democratic Alliance nor a separate group of rebels fighting in the western Darfur region participated in the government. The CPA provided for a transitional parliament composed of the National Assembly (comprising 450 appointed members, see note) and the 52-member Council of States. The CPA also granted South Sudan limited autonomy. A referendum on full independence for the South is scheduled for 2011.

The 2010 election campaign started on 13 February. In March, 17 opposition parties sent a memorandum to the President, requesting the postponement of the elections until November so that several laws on national security and the media could be modified. The Election Commission nevertheless maintained the election dates for April. Several opposition parties subsequently announced that they would boycott the polls, alleging election fraud.

Shortly before the elections, two presidential candidates - Mr. Yasir Arman (SPLM) and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi of the National Umma Party (NUP) - withdrew from the presidential polls; citing, above all, security concerns and electoral irregularities. Mr. Arman had been seen as the strongest challenger to President Al-Bashir. Upon his withdrawal, several other opposition parties, including another major opposition force - the Democratic Unionist Party - announced that they too would boycott the presidential polls. The SPLM boycotted most elections in the North, accusing the NCP of rigging the polls. The former prime minister's cousin, Mr. Mubarak al-Mahdi, ran for the presidency from a splinter party, the Umma Party-Reform and Renewal (UPRR).

The NUP, which also withdrew from the parliamentary polls, has strong support in Darfur, which has been embroiled in civil war since 2003. Despite the conclusion of several truces officially ending the civil war, sporadic violence has continued. According to the United Nations, nearly 300,000 people have died from the combined effects of war, famine and disease and 2 million have been displaced. The Sudanese Government insists that the real death toll stands at 10,000. In March 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir on charges including war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He became the first sitting Head of State to be indicted by the ICC. Notwithstanding, in October 2009, the NCP nominated Mr. Al-Bashir for the 2010 presidential polls.

The main contenders in the 2010 elections included Mr. Al-Bashir's NCP and the SPLM, led by Mr. Salva Kiir Mayadrit, who was running for the presidency in South Sudan.

President Al-Bashir called on voters' support for the NCP so that he could consolidate national unity and peace in Darfur. He pledged to implement development and service projects and provide for the welfare of citizens.

The SPLM ran under the slogan "Freedom-Peace-Prosperity". It promised democratic transformation and full implementation of the CPA. It pledged to provide a better life for all and bring peace and stability to the country.

The 2010 elections were to be held over three days between 11 and 13 April. However, the voting period was extended to 15 April due to the late opening of some polling stations.

In the South, where 12 separate elections were taking place, voters had to cast 12 different votes. The high illiteracy rate - considered to be around 70 per cent in the south - further complicated the voting process.

Turnout was reportedly low among the 16 million registered voters. No major incidents were reported during voting.

The SPLM accused the Election Commission of numerous irregularities. It argued that many voters' names had been missing from the voters' list.

The Carter Center and the European Union monitored the polls. They both praised the generally peaceful voting process and qualified the elections as a significant step toward democracy. They nevertheless concluded that the elections had failed to meet international standards, citing reports of intimidation and harassment.

The final results gave 323 to the NCP and 99 to the SPLM.

In the presidential elections, Mr. Al-Bashir was elected in the first round, winning over 68 per cent of the votes. In South Sudan, Mr. Kiir won the presidency with over 90 per cent of the votes.

On 24 May 2010, the newly elected National Assembly held its first session and re-elected Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir (NCP) as its Speaker. The newly elected Council of States held its first session on the same day and elected Mr. Adam Hamid Musa (NCP) as its new Chairman.

The following 450 members were appointed to the National Assembly in 2005:
- 52%, or 234 members, from the National Congress Party (NCP);
- 28%, or 126 members, from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM);
- 14%, or 63 members, from other northern parties;
- 6%, or 27 members, from other southern groups.
Based on the Darfur Peace Agreement and the East Sudan Peace Agreement, which were signed in May and October 2006 respectively, 12 members of the Darfur States joined the National Assembly on 3 April 2007. Nine filled the vacant seats reserved for them, while three took over seats vacated by the NCP. Another eight members representing the Eastern States were appointed by a presidential decree on 25 June 2007 to fill seats vacated by the NCP. These eight members were sworn in October 2007.
Voter turnout
Round no 111 April 2010
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
National Congress Party (NCP) 323
Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) 99
Vacant 4
People's Congress 4
Democratic Unionist Party 4
Independents 3
Federal Umma Party 3
Umma Party for Reform and Development 2
Democratic Unionist Party - Origin 2
Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)-DC 2
Umma collective leadership 1
National Umma Party 1
Umma Party 1
Muslim Brotherhood 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
The mandate of parliamentarians from the south was terminated upon independence of the Republic of South Sudan on 9 July 2011. The statutory membership of the National Assembly was thereby reduced from 450 to 354. 25 per cent, or 88 seats, are reserved for women. The current legislature will complete its five-year term with this reduced statutory number.
Source: IPU Group (12.07.2011, 19.07.2010, 19.01.2012, 01.01.2014)

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