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Al-Mahdi must be part of government, Sudanese opposition

March 8, 2017 at 4:54 pm

As speculation mounts over who will be included in the new Sudanese cabinet of National Reconciliation, opposition groups have called for the former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi to be included in the government of reconciliation, despite not taking part in the National Dialogue process.

Opposition groups today began two days of talks with the newly-appointed Sudanese Prime Minister, General Bakri Hassan Saleh, the ruling National Congress Party said in a statement.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir [Ebrahim Hamid/Anadolu Agency]

Image of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir [Ebrahim Hamid/Anadolu Agency]

Saleh, who was appointed last week to the newly created position of Prime Minister by President Omar Al-Bashir, is meeting opposition leaders who took part in a two-year process of National Dialogue. Some of those groups have called for Al-Madhi to be included in the National Reconciliation government, even at this late stage.

The official spokesman for the opposition Democratic Unionist Party, Mohamed Al-Sheikh, said there was no legitimate reason why the veteran politician should be excluded from the new government. “The political forces would welcome his genuine participation in the process of national reconciliation,” he added.

In addition, Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al-Khalifa, vice president of Sudan’s National Freedom Party, called on the former prime minister to make a conclusive decision to return to dialogue and to participate in the new government.

Differences of opinion

However, there are reports of differences within Al-Mahdi’s Ummah party on the question of participation in the government. Dr Ahmed Musa Mahibo, who leads the opposition groups, said there are differences of opinion between the leader of the party and its membership.

“For any decision to be taken, there must be a consensus and unanimity for the party to move forward.”

Former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi, who returned from exile in January this year after a two-year absence, had told supporters that he had returned to achieve peace and democracy.

The opposition are guaranteed an allocation of 15 per cent of the seats in the legislative parliaments at national and state levels. The dialogue culminated in the creation of the post of prime minister and additional seats at the National Assembly and at the Council of States.


    of the seats in the legislative parliaments at national and state levels are guaranteed for opposition groups

The National Government of Reconciliation will replace the government of National Unity which was formed after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 and ended in the division of Sudan into two countries in 2011.

The National Dialogue began in January 2014 following a call by President Omar Al-Bashir for opposition groups to put an end to the country’s political crises.  The dialogue called “Sudan for All” included over 80 Sudanese political parties, civil society organisations and major armed groups and prominent figures in Sudan. It is expected to become clear in the next few days which ministerial positions have been allocated to the various opposition groups.