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'Dissidents of Sudan's Unionist Party dismiss chairman'

December 7 - 2015 KHARTOUM
DUP leader Mohamed El Mirghani (R) and President Omar Al Bashir (L) meet in Khartoum 15 December 2013 (Suna)
DUP leader Mohamed El Mirghani (R) and President Omar Al Bashir (L) meet in Khartoum 15 December 2013 (Suna)

A group of dissident members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have reportedly dismissed the party's chairman, Mohamed Osman El Mirghani.

The spokesman for the group, Jaafar Hassan, told reporters in Khartoum on Sunday that the move can be considered “a first step in the course of corrections to save the remaining entity of the party”.

The dissidents intend to transform the DUP into “a political opposition party that refuses to participate in the current government, and calls for accountability of all DUP members who took part in the governments of the ruling National Congress Party”.

Member of the dissidents' Transitional Political Bureau, Mohamed Ageel, said they are aiming to correct the course of the party after its president “has become incapable of managing the party’s affairs because of his health conditions”.

He said that a steering committee has been formed, headed by DUP Deputy Chairman Ali Mahmoud Hassanein. Sheikh Hassan Abu Sabeeb, Dr Abdallah Abusin and Tajelsir Mohamed El Mirghani are members.

The newly established Transitional Political Bureau consists of 269 people who will be responsible for the daily management of the party in the coming period.

Splits

The DUP is a merger of the National Unionist Party and People’s Democratic Party in 1967. Following the 1989 army coup, the party became one of the founding members of the opposition umbrella National Democratic Alliance. DUP chairman Mohamed Osman El Mirghani, who is also also head of the Khatmiyya Sufi order, became its chairman.

After the ending of the civil war in the South in 2005, El Mirghani signed a reconciliation agreement with the government. He returned to Sudan from exile in Egypt in 2008. In late 2011, El Mirghani led his party into a coalition government with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). His son, Jaafar El Sadig, became a presidential assistant.

As a result of El Mirghani's cooperation with the NCP, the original DUP witnessed not only defections to the NCP, but also various party splits. One of the new DUP factions is the Unionist Movement that broke with the main party late 2011. It joined the National Consensus Forces (NCF, an alliance of opposition parties) and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance in October 2012.

The main DUP appeared to be a the verge of a new discord early this year, after El Mirghani announced his support for President Al Bashir in the April election. 


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