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Sudan: prominent politician returns after decade in exile

Muhammad Othman Al-Mirghani [@sudanradio/Twitter]
Muhammad Othman Al-Mirghani [@sudanradio/Twitter]

The head of Sudan's Democratic Unionist Party, Muhammad Othman Al-Mirghani, returned to the country on Monday after spending ten years in exile living in Cairo. Thousands of his supporters welcomed him at Khartoum Airport.

A spokesman for the party, Omar Khalafallah, said that Al-Mirghani's return compliments a number of files and tasks, including the Sudanese initiative launched in March to resolve the political crisis. He added that the party's vision is based on making amendments to the constitutional document signed in 2019 and producing a new constitution to restore the transitional period. The spokesman noted that Al-Mirghani has worked with the Federal Parties Unit to bridge the gaps between the federal parties and unite them.

Al-Mirghani left Sudan in 2010, following disagreements within his party, and went to London, where he stayed for a short while before leaving for Cairo and settling there. He managed his party's affairs from the Egyptian capital and entered into a political partnership with the former National Congress regime, sharing ministerial portfolios while his two sons, Hassan Al-Mirghani and Jaafar Al-Mirghani, were assistants to the now-ousted President Omar Al-Bashir.

READ: Sudan civil society and military agree framework for political process

The Democratic Unionist Party is active in the Sudanese political scene, and enjoys the absolute support of the Khatmiyya sect, which acts as the party's religious wing. The Khatmiyya is the traditional rival of the Ansar sect led by the late Sadiq Al-Mahdi.

It was Al-Mirghani's son, Hassan, who as the leader of the party signed the transitional constitutional proposals prepared by Sudanese lawyers. His other son and deputy party head, Jaafar, signed the political declaration of the Freedom and Change—Democratic Bloc coalition.

The latest developments after more than a year of political deadlock have led to a cautiously optimistic atmosphere in Sudan about a solution is imminent.

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