Fenland councillor will miss our elections to helps war torn Sudan handle their elections

PUBLISHED: 15:51 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:35 02 June 2010

Jonathan farmer in the Sudan

Jonathan farmer in the Sudan

INTERNATIONAL election monitors have called on a Fenland councillor to help safeguard democracy in a war torn country. The European Union team has asked Jonathan Farmer, who represents the Wisbech Medworth ward, to witness the upcoming vote in Sudan. It m

INTERNATIONAL election monitors have called on a Fenland councillor to help safeguard democracy in a war torn country.

The European Union team has asked Jonathan Farmer, who represents the Wisbech Medworth ward, to witness the upcoming vote in Sudan.

It means he will sacrifice getting Conservative voters to the polls during the British General Election so he can champion voting rights in Africa.

He was airlifted to Juba, in southern Sudan, by the United Nations to help the country hold its first multi-party election in 25 years.

His wife Susanah is keeping in touch with him while he is on the trip.

She said: "Jonathan has found the people of Sudan very welcoming.

"If we think our elections can sometimes be a little confusing, in Sudan there are 12 different ballot papers and three different voting systems.

"To further complicate matters, organisers have to take account of 80 per cent illiteracy, no postal system and few radio stations."

Cllr Farmer, who delivered the first batch of ballot papers to Sudan, is under no illusions about the difficult task that faces him.

As the country votes to elect the President of Sudan and the National Assembly of Sudan on April 11, he is only able to observe what is going on.

He is not allowed to interfere even if he feels democratic principles are being ignored.

The election is the first since the second Sudanese Civil War ended in 2005.

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