Meet the only female candidate in Sudan’s elections

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File photo of Presidential candidate Fatima Abdel Mahmoud
Fatima Abdel Mahmoud is a Soviet-educated professor of medicine and public health.

 

71 year old Fatima Abdul Mahmoud is the only woman running in the race for the top political position in  Sudan’s elections.

She was in 1973 one of the first women to hold political office in Sudan, and she contested the April 2010 Sudanese general election as the country’s first female presidential candidate.

Fatima knows the race is not easy but she knows that her ambitions will push other women in Sudan to believe in themselves to run for the countries top job.

She is a Soviet-educated professor of medicine and public health.

Her Democratic Socialist Union Party wants equal rights for women in Sudan where the perception that women lack the qualities and experience to hold high office is deeply rooted.

Parliamentary career

Fatima was born in the mid-1940s. She studied medicine in Moscow in the 1960s and qualified as a paediatrician.She was in 1973 appointed deputy minister of youth, sports, and social affairs. Her appointment, along with that of Sayeda Nafeisa Ahmed al Amin as a member of the ruling Sudanese Socialist Union politburo, made international news at a time when contemporary estimates put the Sudanese female literacy rate at 10 per cent. She served in parliament for 10 years.

Presidential candidacy

In April 2010 Sudan held its first fully contested elections (i.e. the first to include candidates from opposition parties) since 1986. Abdel Mahmoud’s presidential candidacy, along with that of two other aspirants, had in January 2010 been rejected by the Sudanese National Elections Commission, which claimed that Abdel Mahmoud’s campaign had failed to secure the necessary stamps on a required list of signatures endorsing her candidacy. Abdel Mahmoud and her supporters protested the decision, which they described as representative of a conspiracy against women, and her candidacy was reinstated by an appeal court before the election.

Many opposition parties eventually boycotted the poll, claiming that it was rigged in favour of incumbent president Omar al-Bashir.Al-Bashir went on to win the election decisively. Election results showed that Abdel Mahmoud had polled 0.3% of the total vote.

“Professor Fatima Abdul Mahmoud, presidential candidate 2015, my sign is the dove, I ran in these elections to prove that women have the right to high authority as president, that this was a successful experiment around the world.”

Mahmoud is running as the lead candidate for the Democratic Socialist Union Party.

She’s up against 15 competitors, including incumbent president Omar al-Bashir.

Oservoers say President Bashir is expected to win the elections.

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