April 21, 2019

Sudan’s New Military Council Vows to Name Civilian Premier

Sudan’s New Military Council Vows to Name Civilian Premier


CAIRO — Sudan’s new ruling military council announced on Sunday that it would name a civilian prime minister and cabinet, but not a president, to help govern the country after the coup that removed the longtime leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

An army spokesman, Lt. Gen. Shamseldin Kibashi, also said in televised remarks that the military had begun to overhaul security organizations and would allow demonstrations to continue outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, the capital.

The statement came after a second day of meetings between the army and organizers of the months of escalating protests that led to Mr. al-Bashir’s ouster on Thursday.

The announcement was unlikely to satisfy protesters, though, who have demanded full civilian rule. Organizers have urged the military to “immediately and unconditionally” hand power to a transitional civilian government.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests, posted a nine-point list of demands on Sunday, including prosecution of those behind an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, a freeze on the assets of leading officials in Mr. al-Bashir’s government and dismissal of top judges and prosecutors.

There was no immediate comment from opposition figures about the military’s announcement.

After Saturday’s talks, Omer el-Digair, the leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, told protesters, “We demanded restructuring the current security apparatus,” and said, “We do not need a security apparatus that detains people and shuts off newspapers.”

After the coup, the army appointed the military council, which it says will rule for no more than two years while elections are organized.

The military ended Mr. al-Bashir’s nearly 30-year reign and placed him under house arrest in the capital. The protesters fear that the military, which is dominated by al-Bashir appointees, will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed him.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates issued statements in support of the military council.

Saudi Arabia said it “stands by the Sudanese people” and called on all Sudanese “to give priority to the national interest” of their country. And the United Arab Emirates said it welcomed the swearing-in of Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan on Friday as head of the military council.

General Burhan assumed the council’s leadership after protesters objected to its being led by Lt. Gen. Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, the defense minister and a confidant of Mr. al-Bashir. The military announced on Sunday that General Auf had retired.

The protesters have modeled their movement on the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 that swept leaders from power in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. They have incorporated many of its slogans, and established a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum this month.

Those uprisings left a mixed legacy, with only Tunisia emerging as a democracy. In Egypt, the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013, and the authorities have since cracked down hard on dissent. Yemen slid into civil war, and Libya is on the verge of another major conflict as militias fight for control of the capital, Tripoli.



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