Main parties in Sudan report fraud

KHARTOUM - Sudan's political parties accused each other of widespread fraud and intimidation as voters began to register for the oil-producing state's first multiparty elections in 24 years.

The reports came with evidence of a growing rift between the two main parties in Sudan's coalition government, who fought each other in a two-decade civil war that ended in a faltering 2005 peace deal.

Opposition monitors said they had evidence of intimidation and vote-buyingby Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP), headed by President Omar al-Bashir.

The NCP dismissed the allegations and accused the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) of sabotaging the election, saying NCP supporters had been tortured in the south.

The SPLM and 20 opposition parties have threatened to boycott the elections if a package of democratic laws is not passed.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement created the coalition government and gave the south a vote on independence in 2011.

Opposition Umma Party official Mariam al-Mahdi said her observers had seen many cases of fraud.

The elections have been delayed until April 2010. - Reuters