Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir waves to supporters during a campaign rally, ahead of the 2015 elections, in Omdurman, April 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer?
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After more than a quarter of a century in power, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir looks as strong as ever ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections next week.A boycott by the main opposition parties has left Bashir and his National Congress Party with no real challenge in the April 13-15 polls where the 71-year-old is styling himself as a rock of stability and regional statesman seeking closer ties with wealthy Gulf Arab states.Bashir's critics complain of a crackdown on media, civil society and the opposition and reject his assertion that Sudan would become a haven for extremists under a different president.Apart from security, Bashir has campaigned on issues such as improving access to water and farmland that most affect the nearly half of Sudan's population of 37 million people in poverty.With no real challenge to Bashir, others were simply apathetic.
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