KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 15 (UPI) -- Sudan's national elections concluded Thursday with the ruling National Congress Party expressing confidence of victory.
The Sudan Tribune reported the NCP offered opposition parties to join a "broad-based" government once poll results are announced starting next week.
"If we are declared winners in the elections ... we would extend the invitation to all parties, even those who have not participated in the elections, to join the government because we believe this is a critical moment in our history," the Tribune quoted Sudanese presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani as saying.
"We are facing important decisions like self-determination in the south and would like to garner as much support and as much consensus as we can."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded the efforts to get all sides working together.
"The secretary-general encourages all political actors in Sudan to tackle issues in a spirit of dialogue, towards a peaceful electoral outcome and ongoing implementation of the [the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the north-south civil war]," a statement issued by Ban's representative said.
Despite the disappearance of four peacekeeper troops and unconfirmed allegations that nine NCP members had been killed in the country's volatile southern region, the U.N. leader's statement said it appeared the elections had gone off without any major violence, or crippling voting irregularities and boycotts.
The voting period was extended from three to five days because of early logistical problems at polling stations.
Ban urged all Sudanese to refrain doing anything to jeopardize the peaceful conclusion of the country's first multiparty electoral process in 24 years.
"Electoral grievances should be addressed through appropriate legal and institutional channels and reviewed in a fair and transparent manner," Ban's statement said.
Ecumenical News International reported the general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches had said Wednesday the elections did not qualify as free and fair. Still, the Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol said the elections should be allowed to play out since they are a key step in the implementation of the peace agreement.
"The view of the church is that the whole exercise is one that cannot be described as free and fair," Chan, a Baptist, told Ecumenical News International. "There are too many challenges. Peoples' names are missing from the registers. They are scattered in different rolls in different towns."