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Rift between Sudan's ruling party, PCP tests political will

February 24 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, political secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP, file photo)
Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, political secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP, file photo)

A political rift between Sudan's ruling party and the Popular Congress Party has emerged over draft amendments to the constitution. The opposition party is concerned that the ruling party attempts to withdraw from amendments to the constitution.

President Omar Al Bashir told reporters of Sudanese newspapers on Wednesday that there is no logic for the Popular Congress Party to bring amendments. "The PCP can take them or leave them. These have come from the National Dialogue outputs."

The Popular Congress Party has harshly criticised President Al Bashir's remarks on the constitutional amendments and threatened to get out of the National Dialogue and return to the side of the opposition, in the event that no amendments are made to the constitution concerning freedoms of the people.

Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, the political secretary of the Popular Congress, considers the president's remarks are perhaps an attempt to withdraw from the outcomes of the National Dialogue, or to cover up the removal of some of the articles from the amendments.

"The constitutional amendments [...] do not represent the Popular Congress’ opinion alone. I am surprised that President Al Bashir attributes the constitutional amendments to the PCP." The PCP will not participate in the coming government without the enforcement of the constitutional amendments as were proposed, he stressed.

Islamist groups
Abdelsalam added that the Islamist groups who rejected the draft amendments earlier this week attempt to find justifications to escape from the enforceable outputs of the National Dialogue.

Several opposition parties still refuse to join the National Dialogue. Presiden Al Bashir proposed the broad National Dialogue in early 2014 to gather all political forces in Sudan, including the rebel movements, with the aim to peacefully solve the various crises in the country. Last October, participating parties and groups formed committees to form recommendations on the crises.

'The current differences are a real test of the political will of both the NCP as the PCP.' - Dr. Atabani

Dr Ghazi Salaheldin Atabani, the head of the Reform Now Movement, considers the current differences between the National Congress Party (NCP)and the PCP as "a real test" of the political will of the parties to the dialogue, and the commitment of the ruling party to the dialogue's outcomes. His party issued a press statement on Thursday:

"The NCP has a chance to send a message to the international community in general and the Sudanese parties abstaining from the dialogue, through acceptance of the outputs of the dialogue and making clear concessions in the formation of the upcoming government."

Among the draft amdendments are a text which tasks the security services with collection of information, analysis and provision of advice to the authorities concerned under the supervision of the President. Another amendment states the abolition of the punishment of stoning for apostasy, and toppling the legal procedures on marriage for women, and enhancing equality between men and women in inheritance affairs.

The Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, concluded his third visit to the country this month and urged the National Assembly, which considers amendments to the Constitution and various laws, including the National Security Act and the Criminal Act, "to consider once and for all, abrogating all provisions in these laws which infringe on fundamental human rights of Sudanese people".


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