Sudan postpones elections by 11 days: electoral body

Sudanese women arrive at a polling station to vote in the gubernatorial and legislative elections being held in Kadugli on May 2, 2011 (AFP Photo/Ashraf Shazly)

Khartoum (AFP) - Sudan's electoral body said on Saturday it had postponed elections planned for next year by 11 days to April 13, without giving reasons for the decision.

Voters had been due to head to the polls on April 2 to elect the president, members of parliament and state governors.

"All the election process will be delayed for 11 days," National Electoral Commission chief Mukhtar al-Assam told AFP by phone.

He said a news conference would be held on Sunday about the postponement.

The application deadline for potential candidates was also pushed back to January 11 from December 31, Assam told AFP.

It also remains unclear whether polling for state governors will take place as President Omar al-Bashir suggested a constitutional amendment last month that would allow people to be appointed to the posts, rather than elected.

The ruling National Congress Party said in October Bashir would stand for reelection in a move criticised by many opposition parties.

Bashir seized power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup, but the 70-year-old was elected to the presidency in 2010.

His 25 years in power saw the south split officially from Sudan in 2011 under a peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war in the formerly united country.

Sudan's western region of Darfur also erupted into conflict in 2003 when insurgents rebelled against his government, complaining of marginalisation.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.