Sudanese political parties ramp up calls for Bashir to step-down

Eight political parties are believed to have quit government in solidarity with protesters

FILE PHOTO: Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans as they march along the street during anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah -/File Photo
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A wide array of political groups in Sudan are ramping up calls for President Omar Al Bashir to step down, following two weeks of near-daily demonstrations against his 29-year rule.

The Sudanese Communist Party on Wednesday joined the National Front for Change (NFC) -- an umbrella group comprising of 22 political parties in government-- and the Umma party of former Prime Minister Sadeq Al Mahdi in demanding Mr Bashir’s resignation.

At least eight political parties have withdrawn from  government in solidarity with demonstrations.

Meanwhile, a group of pro-Bashir political parties held a separate press conference on Wednesday in which they said that an economic crisis widely believed to have prompted the protests is being solved. They urged demonstrators to be patient and lambasted political parties for quitting government one year ahead of the next round of elections.


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Communist party spokesperson Fathi Fadul announced backing of Mr Bashir’s removal one day after The Sudanese National Front for Change (NFC) and the Umma Party both said they will submit a joint declaration to the president demanding the appointment of a transitional government to temporarily run the country’s affairs until a national government, consisting of technocrats and party representatives, can be formed.

The memo also demands the dissolution of both chambers of parliament and to appoint a consensual transitional council of 100 members, that grants all parties fair representation.

It also calls on the new government to take economic measures to help boost the standard of living.

Umma Party leader Mubarak Al Fadil Al Mahdi told a press conference on Tuesday that Mr Al Bashir’s government cannot solve the current crisis and said that his group would work with the opposition to change the current government.

Ghazi Salahuddin, the head of Reform Now Party – which is part of the NFC coalition – told reporters that his party will withdraw from government in protest against Mr Al Bashir.

The announcement was hailed by the Association of Sudanese Professionals, a group participating in protests, as a sign that anti-government demonstrations are succeeding.

Ishraqa Sayed Mahmoud, member of the Democratic Union Party said that 2019 will witness a great change for Sudan and called on political parties to work together towards change.

Mr Al Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 military coup, has ordered the use of force against protesters who have taken to the streets since December 19 to demand his ouster. Authorities also arrested nearly two dozen opposition leaders.

The government last week said 19 people, including two soldiers, had been killed in protests. Amnesty International said on December 24 it had credible reports that 37 people were shot dead by security forces in the first five days.

According to Reuters, Sudanese authorities are blocking access to popular social media platforms used to organise and broadcast nationwide anti-government protests triggered by an economic crisis.

Users of the three main telecommunications operators in the country -- Zain, MTN and Sudani -- said access to Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp has only been possible through use of a virtual private network (VPN).