Voting begins in controversial Sudan elections

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Voting has kicked off in Sudan's first competitive elections in nearly a quarter of a century despite repeated opposition calls to delay the vote.

Voters began assembling at polling stations in the capital Khartoum soon after they opened today.

The elections, which will run through until Tuesday, are an essential part of a 2005 peace deal which ended the north-south war that killed two million people over 21 years.

The elections were designed to provide an elected government to prepare a referendum over southern independence next year.

Some 16 million people will vote for over 14,000 candidates for everything from president to local councils.

A number of opposition parties have boycotted the elections, citing a rigged system biased towards the ruling party.