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Al-Mahdi calls for ‘new social contract’ amidst protests in Sudan

Image of former Sudanese Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi [file photo]
Former Sudanese Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition National Umma Party Sadiq Al-Mahdi [File photo]

The head of the Sudanese National Ummah Party, Sadiq Al-Mahdi, has called for a “new social contract” in the country, amidst renewed protests against the deterioration of living conditions, Anadolu has reported. Al-Mahdi made his call during his first public speech in Khartoum following his return to Sudan after a 10-month absence.

Al-Mahdi urged the rallying of public support for a formula that includes the commitment of all parties to a ceasefire and an end to hostilities. He also said that humanitarian relief should be facilitated, [political] “prisoners and detainees” should be released and controls should be introduced to ensure public freedoms. There should also be a national government following a consensus, he added.

There has been a war between the government and rebel movements for years in three of Sudan’s 18 states. An unknown number of people have been killed and wounded, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

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The NUP leader went on to say that a document in this regard shall be presented to the Presidency of the Republic. He called on representatives of political, academic, religious and tribal forces to work to achieve its aims and objectives.

A government which stems from such a vision, explained Al-Mahdi, must be tasked to address the current economic and financial situation, so as to alleviate the suffering of the people. In addition, it must work to resettle voluntarily those who have been displaced.

Al-Mahdi returned to Sudan on Wednesday, and was received by the head of the political sector in the ruling National Congress Party, Abdul Rahman Al-Hadar, before heading to Omdurman, west of Khartoum, to address his supporters.

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Last month, the government said that it would welcome his return to Sudan. Information Minister Juma Bishara said at the time that the charges against Al-Mahdi might be dropped following an amnesty from President Omar Al-Bashir. These were filed in April by the State Security Prosecution authorities. The ten charges, some of which carried the death penalty, were drafted in response to accusations by the security service that he and others were “dealing with armed rebel movements to overthrow the regime by force.”

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