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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'We changed the laws': electoral practice and malpractice in Sudan since 1953
Authors:Willis, JustinISNI
Battahani, Atta ElISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Sudan
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40785320
Abstract:This article explores the history of elections by secret ballot in Sudan since the 1950s, and considers what lessons this history may offer in the run-up to the national elections planned under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The article locates the repeated use of the secret ballot in Sudan in the context of a wider State-directed project of modernity, for which the secret ballot offers a performative enactment of the relationship between an efficient State and a disciplined citizenry. The article therefore focuses on the actual procedure of elections, rather than on high politics, and it argues that despite a formal insistence on consistent procedure, practice often deviated from the supposed rules. While in some cases such deviations were driven by political manipulation, they were at other times simply the result of a lack of resources; such deviations were covered up by officials who were well aware of the immense value placed on the performance of the secret ballot. It seems likely that elections of April 2010 will see similar problems and deviations from the rules, and that the elections are unlikely to achieve the intended aim of developing a more inclusive political culture. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]