Sudan transition: A Prime Minister and a Sovereign Council appointed to lead the transition

Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s new Prime Minister

Abdalla Hamdok has been appointed as a new prime minister for Sudan while Lt-Gen Abel Fattah Abdelrahman was also sworn in as leader of the new Sovereign Council.  

The two leaders together with the Sovereign Council will spearhead the country’s transition process that is expected to last about 3 years.

The new leadership will run the country until elections are held. Sudan has seen months of turbulence that led to death of dozens of protesters who were demanding change in leadership.

The crisis in Sudan began last year in December sparked by increasing cost of living and they later led to the ousting of the government of Omar al-Bashir who had been in power for 30 years.

Since the downfall of Bashir’s government in April, both the military and the civilian represents were locked in negotiations of forming a transitional council until 4 August when both parties signed a constitutional declaration, paving way for the formation of a transitional government.

Mr. Hamdok represents the civilians and was sworn in as a transitional prime minister after serving as a respected senior economist in Ethiopia for the UN from 2011 until last year when he stepped down.

Earlier on Wednesday, General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan was sworn in as the chairman of the 11-member Sovereign Council including 5 civilian and 5 military nominees and 1 agreed by consensus.

General Abdel Fattah Burhan, leader of the Sovereign Council

New prime minister Hamdok will form a 20-member cabinet within 3 weeks which will exclude the interior and defence ministers as the pair will be appointed by the soldiers on the Sovereign Council.

Mr. Hamdok had been nominated by Mr. Bashir for the job of finance minister, but he turned it down according to AFP news agency reports.

The swearing in of prime minister Hamdok and the Sovereign Council yesterday marked the first time Sudan is not under military rule in 30 years since the coup in 1989 that brought Mr. Bashir into power.

“With the right vision, with the right policies, we will be able to address this economic crisis,” said Mr. Hamdok after swearing in.

The Sovereign Council replaces the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that has been in charge of the country since April when Mr. Bashir was forced out of office following months of massive protests against his rule.

The Council will lead the country for 21 months then a civilian leader will take over for the next 18 months that will usher the country into election. It will also oversee the formation of a government and a legislative body of 300 members.

Since December last year when the protests began, at least 250 people have been killed.

All eyes will now be on the new leadership even during this transition period to see how they are going to tackle the key issues that plunged the country into this crisis including the economic crisis and the political instability around the country.

However, what has been achieved so far and the long transition period are seen as victory for the protesters and all the pro-democracy stakeholders. Demonstrators admit that it would take time to dismantle Mr. Bashir’s political network which they believe was deeply entrenched. They say that If they achieve this, it will open the way for free and fair elections.

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