Sudanese bent on civilian rule

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Sudanese bent on civilian rule

Sunday, 28 April 2019 | AP

Sudanese bent on civilian rule

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which led months of protests that eventually forced Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir — one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders—  from power  says its revolution is far from over. The umbrella group of unions succeeded where war and sanctions failed — in ending President Omar al-Bashir's three-decade rule. This week the protesters scored another victory by forcing three figures seen as too close to the ousted regime to resign from the military council that assumed power after overthrowing al-Bashir on April 11.

On April 27, the organisers of the protests met with the ruling military council for talks on forming a transitional government.

The protesters had agreed to resume talks with the military on Wednesday, after a temporary break.

The protesters fear the Army, dominated by al-Bashir appointees, will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed him. They also fear Islamists and other factions close to the deposed leader, who is now jailed in the capital, Khartoum, will be granted a role in the transition.

The Sudanese Professionals Association is demanding a civilian government. They have proposed that a sovereign council, which would include “limited” Army representation, hand over full powers to civilians during a four-year transitional period.

Army leaders have called for a two-year transition during which the generals would retain sovereign power and give only executive authorities to civilians.

The military also agreed on Wednesday to recognise the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of Opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, as the uprising’s only legitimate representative, in a move widely seen as a victory for the protesters.

The council has met with a wide range of political parties about the transition, including those formerly close to al-Bashir. Shams al-Deen al-Kabashi, the spokesman for the council, said late Friday that it had completed a review of proposals. He didn’t elaborate.

The Opposition has meanwhile vowed to continue protests, centered on a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

The Umma party of former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, a leading Opposition figure, said the protesters will not break up the sit-in until a full transfer of power to civilians.

The Sudanese Professionals Association  says around 100 people were killed by security forces since December, when a failing economy and a spike in the prices sparked protests.         

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