Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 20:35 UK

Sudan delays presidential ballot

Map of Sudan

Sudan's presidential election has been postponed by two months and will now take place in April next year, the election commission has announced.

Officials said the postponement was due to a delay in completing a census.

Former rebels in the south are reported to be disputing the census results - crucial for preparing for the election.

Southern Sudanese say they make up one-third of Sudan's population, but census results suggest that they make up a much smaller proportion.

In a statement, the election commission said it had decided on "the modification of the previous timeframe" and that the election would take place between 5 and 12 April.

AFP news agency quoted a letter from the commission as saying the census was the reason for the delay.

"The electoral process depends on the results of the census, but those results were not received until mid-May, a month and a half later than expected," the letter said.

Under the 2005 peace deal to end years of war in the south, the election was supposed to be held this year.

The poll will be Sudan's first democratic election in more than two decades.

The peace deal ended a 21-year civil war between the north and the south, giving the south a semi-autonomous government and providing for a referendum on independence for the south by 2011.

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