Omar al-Bashir, who originally came to power in a 1989 military coup, won Sudan’s presidency with an official vote count of 68%. The unsurprising outcome was widely criticized by international observers who cited election-related reports of intimidation, gerrymandering, and fraud. In South Sudan, incumbent candidate Salva Kiir won 93% of the vote to remain in office as president of the semiautonomous region, which is expected to vote for succession from Sudan next year. Leaders and parties in the south, however, are hardly united on the region’s internal issues. Nine southern opposition parties have decided to challenge Mr. Kiir’s victory — and the count of 93% — in court.
Intensifying tensions along the north-south border, dozens were killed last week in clashes between SPLM soldiers and the Rizeigat tribe in the area between Western Bahr el-Ghazal and South Darfur. In an unrelated instance, on April 30, mutinous SPLM soldiers attacked an army barrack near Malakal and killed a number of people. The episodes of violence underscore the urgency and importance of resolving the common issues that face the north and south ahead of the referendum, including the demarcation of the border and the division of the oil fields.