Pressure mounts on Sudanese President al-Bashir to step down
Despite handing over the structure of the ruling party to his deputy Ahmed Harun, Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir is still under intense pressure from the opposition to hands-off power.
Sudan’s main opposition party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi on Saturday called on al-Bashir to step down and sit with the opposition to agree on details of a transitional process to end the nation’s crisis, a statement from his party said.
“You can achieve a safe exit for the country which will be appreciated by the Sudanese people and history and will transform the deep polarization into national unity and international isolation into international cooperation,” the
The call came after a week of successive measures aimed at combating an unprecedented wave of protests threatening Bashir’s three-decade rule, including declaring a nationwide state of emergency and sacking the governors of Sudan’s 18 states and replacing them with military and security officials.
The statement also called on Bashir to end the state of emergency, end torture and release all political prisoners.
Protests in Sudan, initially over high bread prices, have taken place nearly every day since Dec. 19 and developed into the most sustained challenge that Bashir has faced.
Al-Bashir has stepped down from his position as chairman of the ruling party.
The National Congress Party made the announcement late Thursday, following weeks of protests against Bashir’s rule.
The president transferred his party leadership role to NCP deputy chairman Ahmed Harun, until the party’s next general convention.
A NCP party statement said a new president would be chosen at the next general convention.
A date for the convention, however, has not been set.
The NCP enjoys a sweeping majority in parliament. The party’s chief becomes its candidate for the presidential elections, according to the party’s charter.
Harun’s deputy chairmanship appointment happened in recent days.
Like Bashir, Harun is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Bashir recently declared a state of emergency for Sudan, following the wave of protests.
The president also recently established emergency courts to deal with any violations during the state of emergency.
On Thursday, the emergency courts in Khartoum sentenced eight protesters to prison, with sentences ranging from five years to six months.
The protests initially erupted over rising prices and shortages, but quickly transformed into a call for Bashir to step down from the presidency.