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Sudan: ruling coalition wants presidency of 'Sovereignty Council' transferred to civilians

Sudan military forces in Khartoum, Sudan on 22 September 2021 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]
Sudan military forces in Khartoum, Sudan on 22 September 2021 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

The Freedom and Change bloc of the ruling coalition in Sudan has demanded the transfer of the presidency of the Transitional Sovereignty Council (TSC) to civilians, Anadolu has reported. The bloc made its demand after a meeting of its Central Council on Tuesday in Khartoum. The presidency is currently held by Sudan's military.

A press release pointed out that, "The Central Council for the Freedom and Change bloc stressed in its meeting the strict adherence to the constitutional document and the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan, and the completion of peace, including the rotation of the presidency of the Sovereign Council, which must be passed on to civilians, as stipulated in the constitutional document."

The Council renewed its commitment to reforming and developing the security and military sector, implementing the security arrangements contained in the peace agreement, and adopting a plan that will lead to the building of a single army, with which all other armed forces will join. The bloc demanded that the civilian government be directly responsible for the police forces and the General Intelligence Service. It also affirmed its adherence to the extradition of all persons wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On 17 August 2019, the now dissolved Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change, which led the protests against the then regime of President Omar Al-Bashir, signed a constitutional document to create power structures during the transitional period. During this period, Sudan is being run by the civilian government and the TSC (the latter acting as a presidency) consisting of 14 members: five military, six civilian and three armed movements.

READ: Sudan forces battle armed cell in Khartoum

The constitutional document stipulated a transition period of 39 months, with the presidency split equally between the military and civilians. The share of the military component in the presidency of the Sovereignty Council was set at 21 months, while that of civilians was set at 18 months.

However, the amendment of the document under the peace agreement in Juba between Khartoum and a number of armed movements caused confusion over the transitional texts. The amendments approved the start of the transitional period as of the date of signing the peace agreement on 3 October, 2020, without addressing the issue of the presidency.

For days now, tension has been building between the military and civilian components of the transitional council, due to criticism by military leaders of the political forces. All of this is happening against the background of a thwarted coup attempt on 21 September.

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