In what could be an end to the recent political crisis in Sudan, the country’s ruling generals and a coalition of opposition and protest groups have agreed on a power-sharing accord.
In a press conference on Friday, African Union (AU) mediator, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, revealed that both parties “agreed on establishing a sovereign council with rotating military and civilian (presidency) for a period of three years or little more.” With this, governing powers will be shared during the transition period until elections.
Since the ouster of autocratic President, Omar al-Bashir by the army in April, Sudan has been rocked by a deadly political crisis, caused by the refusal of the generals who seized power to transfer it to a civilian administration. Fearing that the generals would maintain authoritarian rule by clinging onto power, protesters remained in the streets even after al-Bashir was removed.
Tensions further intensified on June 3, after dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds injured in a raid on a protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum. Last weekend, massive protests were held in which tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Sudan’s main cities.
The final deal between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition coalition, comes after two days of talks following the collapse of the previous round of dialogue in May. Negotiations resumed two days ago after the AU and neighbouring Ethiopia stepped up mediation efforts to end the crisis.
The power-sharing agreement
The agreement, brokered by Ethiopian and AU envoys, states that five seats would go to the military and five to civilians, with an additional seat given to a civilian agreed upon by both sides. “We want to reassure all political forces and armed movements and all those who took part in the change… that this agreement is all inclusive and does not exclude anyone,” Deputy Chief of the ruling military council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said.
In a statement issued by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) on Friday morning, it was disclosed that the transition period would last three years and three months. The military would lead the sovereign council for the first 21 months, and a civilian would take over for the remaining 18 months.
SPA, which is part of the opposition coalition, further said that they would appoint a cabinet of ministers, and a legislative council would be formed after the appointment of the sovereign council and the cabinet.
Both parties also agreed to set up a committee of lawyers, including jurists from the AU, to finalise the agreement within 48 hours, while Lebatt added that they would launch “a detailed, transparent, national, independent investigation into all the regrettable violent incidents that the country faced in recent weeks,” including the June 3 clampdown.
According to doctors close to the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, at least 136 people have been killed across the country, including more than 100 on June 3. On its part, the health ministry says 78 people have died nationwide during the same period.
Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate the breakthrough deal in Khartoum but Al Jazeera reports that many called for continued protests and pressure on the military to implement its side of the deal.