Sudan Premier Reinstated in Army Deal Rejected by Protesters
(Bloomberg) -- Ousted Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok signed a deal with the army that will see him reinstated after last month’s coup, sparking fresh protests by activists demanding a complete end to military rule.
Under the pact inked Sunday with Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, people detained for political reasons since the Oct. 25 putsch that overturned the civilian wing of Sudan’s power-sharing government will be freed and Hamdok will choose a new cabinet of technocrats.
The terms were read out in a ceremony at the presidential palace in the capital, Khartoum, at which Hamdok appeared in public for the first time after almost a month under house arrest.
Speaking at the televised event, both Hamdok and al-Burhan said the agreement would put Sudan’s democratic transition back on track. The coup undermined hopes that the African nation could make a smooth transition to democracy after the end of three decades of dictator Omar al-Bashir’s rule in 2019, sparking international condemnation and mass protests.
The popular reaction was swift, casting doubt on whether the move will reestablish political stability. Thousands of protesters gathered near the palace and in sites across greater Khartoum chanted slogans including “You let down the street, O Hamdok” and “Hamdok is weak, but the streets are strong.”
Political groups including the Forces of Freedom and Change, the coalition that helped ensure Hamdok’s appointment in 2019, have rejected any solution that would see the military retain significant power. At least 40 people have been killed in a crackdown during weeks of turmoil.
“No public consultation. No public support. No justice or accountability,” said Sara Abdelgalil, an advocate working at Governance Programming Overseas, an organization promoting Sudan’s transition to democracy. She called the deal a “unilateral, biased agreement.”
Sunday’s so-called political declaration doesn’t specify who will choose members for the Sovereign Council, a joint civilian-military ruling body with quasi-presidential powers, nor say who will appoint lawmakers to a legislative assembly.
The deal promises an investigation into human-rights violations in the coup’s aftermath. But it doesn’t set a mid-transitional period deadline for the military to surrender the chairman position of the sovereign council to a civilian, one of the issues that sparked tensions between the two sides before the putsch.
“What the prime minister did is a clear betrayal of the revolution and the people who stood with Hamdok and with the legitimate government,” said Rashid Ahmed, a protester. “Hamdok chose to stand with the coup leaders.”
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