Egypt hosts Sudan protest leaders ahead of landmark deal.

The results of the Cairo discussions will be presented before the leaders of the powerful alliance in Khartoum.

Egypt wrapped up a two-day summit with Sudan’s main protest leaders on Tuesday, its foreign ministry said, days before they are due to sign an agreement paving the way for civilian rule in the country.

The “important meeting” brought together the Alliance for Freedom and Change, Sudan’s umbrella protest movement and the driving force behind the protests since December, and the opposition groups of the Sudan Revolutionary Front.

Its objective was “achieving peace” as the long-awaited deal is inked, the ministry said in a short statement on the discussions.

The constitutional declaration scheduled to be formally signed on August 17 outlines the formation of a transitional civilian government and a parliament to govern for a three-year transition period. The agreement stipulates the formation of a joint civilian-military ruling body.

The results of the Cairo discussions will be presented before the leaders of the powerful alliance in Khartoum, the statement added.

Last Update: Tuesday, 13 August 2019 KSA 03:36 – GMT 00:36

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Sudan’s military, protest leaders sign constitutional declaration

Representatives from both sides initial agreement paving way for a transitional government. 4 Aug 2019

Ethiopian mediator Mahmoud Drir, left, protest leader Ahmad Rabie, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, right, celebrate after signing the constitutional declaration [Ashraf Shazly/AFP]

Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders have signed a constitutional declaration that paves the way for a transition to civilian rule, a hard-fought agreement that came after a long period of negotiations following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in the wake of mass protests.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and Ahmed Rabie, a protest leader, signed the declaration on Sunday at a ceremony in the capital, Khartoum, that was attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators.

The document builds on a power-sharing deal agreed to last month and provides for a joint civilian-military ruling body to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to govern for a period of a little more than three years until elections can be held. 

The signing was met by a wave of applause in the Khartoum hall as representatives from both sides shook hands.

A formal signing in front of foreign dignitaries is due to take place on August 17 in Khartoum. The following day, the generals and protest leaders are expected to announce the composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council.

A new prime minister, appointed by the main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), is expected to be named on August 20, The prime minister will be tasked to form the government in consultation with the FFC. However, the defence and the interior ministers will be appointed by the military council.

The cabinet, which will be named on August 28, and the ruling council will meet together on September 1, sources told Reuters news agency, ahead of the appointment of a legislative assembly in three months.

The deal on a constitutional declaration is the fruit of difficult negotiations between the leaders of mass protests which erupted last December against al-Bashir’s three-decade rule and the generals who eventually overthrew him in April.

The talks had been repeatedly interrupted by deadly violence in Khartoum and other cities against demonstrators who have kept up rallies to press for civilian rule.

Speaking from Doha, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow said the agreement “means Sudan has embarked on the road to that much-desired democracy that people have been protesting for months, and also it is momentous for the African Union which has mediated between the parties in Sudan.

“This is a new thing that’s coming in the continent – a hybrid transitional authority that has both military officials and civilians working together during a period of transition – so there are bound to teething problems, but then again many people in Sudan are still hopeful that they have come this far.”

In late May, the TMC shut down Al Jazeera’s Khartoum bureau and banned its journalists from reporting from the country. SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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What does Sudan’s constitutional declaration say?

Long-awaited document paves the way for civilian rule after Omar al-Bashir’s removal in the face of mass protests. 5 August, 2019

A formal signing in front of foreign dignitaries is due to take place on August 17 in Khartoum .

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, chanting revolutionary songs and waving national flags after the country’s military rulers and opposition coalition signed a hard-won constitutional declaration.

The document, initialled on Sunday, paves the way for a transition to civilian rule following the toppling of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April. 

It sets the shape of an interim government that will govern Sudan for a transitional period of three years until elections are held. 

Envoys from the African Union and Ethiopia brokered the talks that resulted in the constitutional declaration. Negotiations between the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition stalled repeatedly amid deadly violence against protesters who kept up demonstrations demanding civilian rule. 

A formal signing of the document will take place in front of foreign dignitaries on August 17.

The following day, the generals and protest leaders are expected to announce the composition of the sovereign council which will replace the TMC.

Here is what the new agreement entails:

  • The transitional period will last for 36 months from the day of the signing of the constitutional declaration. 
  • There will be a sovereign council, which will oversee the creation of a council of ministers and a legislative council.
  • The sovereign council will be an 11-member governing body, which will rule the country for just over three years. The body will be composed of five military personnel chosen by the TMC and five civilians selected by the FFC. The 11th member will be a civilian chosen by consensus between the two parties.
  • The sovereign council will be headed by a military general during the first 21 months, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months.
  • The FFC will appoint the prime minister.
  • The prime minister will name a cabinet of 20 ministers from a list of nominees presented by the FFC, excluding the interior and defence ministers. The latter pair will be appointed by the military members on the sovereign council. 
  • Legal action cannot be taken against members of the three councils without permission from the legislative council. The decision to lift immunity would require the approval of a majority of legislators. 
  • The legislative council will be independent. Its members cannot exceed 300 people, and at least 40 percent of the seats will be reserved for women.
  • The FFC will appoint 67 percent of the legislative council’s members, while other political groups that are not associated with al-Bashir will select the rest. 
  • Sudan’s armed forces and its paramilitary Rapid Support Forces will be led by the commander of the armed forces, who is also the head of the sovereign council.
  • The council of ministers may ask the sovereign council to announce a state of national emergency if the unity and safety of the country are at risk. Such a request must be presented to the legislative council within 15 days, and will become invalid if the assembly fails to approve it. 
  • New policies will be developed over the next six months in consultation with armed groups in various regions of the country to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace. 

The constitutional declaration also contains a chapter on rights and freedoms for Sudanese citizens. It says:

  • Everyone is equal before the law.
  • No one shall be arbitrarily arrested unless for reasons stipulated by law.
  • No one shall be subject to torture, humiliation, or ill-treatment.
  • The state will protect the social, civil, political, cultural, and economic rights of women, which shall be equal to those of men.
  • Everyone has the right to a fair trial; the accused is innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the law.
  • Every citizen has the right to express themselves freely without limitations, and has the right to receive or publish information and access the media in accordance with the law.
  • Every citizen has the right to access the internet in accordance with the law.
  • Everyone has the right to peaceful assembly and the right to create and/or join political parties, NGOs, syndicates, and professional unions
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