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Sadiq al Mahdi will also run for president in Sudan

March 27 - 2010 KHARTOUM

The leader of the Umma Party, Sadiq al Mahdi will run for the Sudanese presidency in April 2010. The 74-years old former prime minister of Sudan who was he was toppled in a bloodless military coup by officers including the current President Omar Al Bashir in 1989. Al Mahdi says he wants to end the ‘totalitarian rule’ of his country. He promised the people that he will bring Sudan to ‘normal’ as president. “Now it is possible for the people to reinstate whom they believe represents their interest, represents aspirations,” he said yesterday at a news conference. He did not say whether he favors unity or secession of the South. Sadiq al Mahdi became for the first time prime minister in 1966 and again in 1986. His party became the largest party in 1986 and formed a coalition with the National Islamic Front (NIF) led by his brother-in-law, Hassan Al Turabi. It is unclear how large his constituency has remained. The candidacy of Al Mahdi puts an end on the discussion about one candidate of the opposition against president Omar al Bashir who is the candidate for the ruling National Congress Party. The SPLM nominated Yassir Arman for the race. He is in favor of a secular state, while Al Mahdi favors an Islamic constitution with non-muslims exempted. Sadiq al Mahdi is also the head of the Islamic Ansar movement with mainly followers in Darfur and Kordofan. Sadiq al Mahdi was imprisoned for his opposition to the Nimieri government in 1983 and released after he supported a popular uprise against Nimeiri who was ousted while traveling abroad. Following the military coup in 1989, Al Mahdi was again arrested and kept in solitary confinement for several months. He was not released from prison until early 1991. The Umma party is fractioned in four factions; some are taking part in the current government.

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