The Riyadh voters' registration

The Sudanese expatriates in Saudi Arabia flocked to the registration centre to register their names for the upcoming election. I visited the Trade Office Registration Centre in downtown Riyadh last Thursday and there was a large attendance, and the citizens were in a good mood, even though many of them were hesitant especially the younger generations who participate for the first time, but they soon came out smiling after finishing this important job in a few minutes.

However, this was not the case with all of them. One of the citizens had only a copy of his identity card and they refused to register him. His friends and some of the attendants sympathised with him. One of his friends said angrily, ''they must register any Sudanese reached eighteen without document: they should know him by the feature''.

Another citizen protested because they refused to register his wife unless she comes herself, and he also did not lake sympathisers. They soon called for the Chairman and signed a petition. At the end of the day they are Sudanese: sympathise with any protestor, consider asking for identity a violation of right, and above all believe in special treatment for women and families.

The Chairman of the Centre, Mr Hussein Sulyman Kouya, told me latter that they used to register women without coming to the centre, but the Parties' representatives thought that this may cause irregularities; thus, the procedure is tightened. ''Except for these two inconveniencies the registration process is going on smoothly and the attendance is good, especially in the weekend'', he told me.

The presence of the representatives of the political parties is very important especially in the absence of any neutral observer. Mr Tarteep Aboud, from the Sudan National Party, told me that their role is to monitor the process, to prevent any mistake and to encourage the citizens to practice their right. Mr Al-Ameen Sarouraby, the representative of the Democratic Unionist Party, agreed with Mr Aboud and added that their Party made a campaign for the registration without reference to any party. Mr Esam Saleh, the representative of the National Congress Party, thinks that the process is going very well and there is no any irregularity. He also emphasised the uniqueness of the Sudanese democracy.

All the citizens I met are optimistic about the future of the country after the election. Mr Abdulmoaty Madani hopes that the election will happen in a healthier environment. Mr Yasser Sydeeq is optimistic too: ''democracy is the best system because after four years you can change the president if he does not govern well''. He also thinks that the election will be fair and free if all the participants follow the law.  

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