Hope for peace and democracy in the Sudan
Hope for peace – people in the capital Khartoum celebrate the agreement reached between the military and the opposition., © picture alliance / Photoshot
Following peaceful protests, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military in April. The military council and the opposition alliance have now set up a transitional government in which they will share power. This is a hopeful sign.
On 11 April 2019, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military, following months of protests. A military transitional council took over the government; the constitution of 2005 was suspended; and the National Assembly and Council of Ministers were dissolved.
It was initially unclear how power would be shared between the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change alliance, which is comprised of opposition parties, armed groups and civil-society organisations. The main point of contention concerned which competences should be held by the highest governmental body, the future Sovereign Council, and who should belong to this body.
Power-sharing transitional government
Following intensive negotiations, a breakthrough was achieved at the start of July when the military and opposition agreed to set up a transitional government in which they would share power. “We very much welcome the agreement between the military council and the opposition in the Sudan,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “It gives the people of the Sudan hope for peace and democracy.” The transition period is due to last for three years, with the presidency first held by the military and then by the opposition. After this period, elections are to be held.
Peaceful protests started in the Sudan in December 2018, with people demonstrating nationwide for political and economic reforms. The protests were initially triggered by rising bread prices and the overall economic situation, which is characterised by rapid inflation and shortages of everyday items. The Forces for Freedom and Change alliance, which is comprised of opposition parties, armed groups and civil-society organisations, was established in January 2019.
What was the situation in the Sudan?
The North East African country had experienced decades of political unrest and conflicts. In 2011, South Sudan declared its independence, and there have been frequent clashes in Darfur in the western part of the country, as well as in other areas. UNAMID, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, has been stationed there since 2008. President al-Bashir seized power in 1989. In 2008, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of crimes against humanity in the crisis-hit region of Darfur.