September 30, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Renewed arguments between Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and opposition groups over drafting a permanent constitution for the country occurred during a symposium held in the capital Khartoum on Sunday.
- FILE PHOTO – Supporters from Sudan’s main opposition parties sign documents requesting for democratic alternatives to the one-party rule at the Democratic Unity Party headquarters in Omdurman July 4, 2012 (REUTERS)
Addressing the symposium, entitled “the current political situation and the constitution”, NCP’s member and MP Badria Suliman dismissed the opposition’s demands for dissolving the government and forming a transitional one to draft the constitution, saying that such preconditions do not enjoy popular support because the current government derives legitimacy from the results of the 2010 general elections in which the NCP won a landslide victory after opposition groups boycotted the vote citing fraud.
Mainstream opposition parties in the coalition National Consensus Forces (NCF) boycotted an invitation by the country’s president and NCP chairman Omer Al-Bashir to participate in a meeting last week to discuss preparations for drafting a permanent constitution to supersede the current transitional one which was installed in 2005 following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with South Sudan.
A number of NCF officials accused the NCP of seeking to create a constitution that would consolidate its grip on power. They also say that the current political circumstances are not suitable for drafting a permanent constitution, citing the conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile as well as the lack of political and press freedoms.
Badria said that the opposition argument of growing conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is not acceptable, saying that the recently-signed agreements between Sudan and South Sudan are expected to improve the situation. She added that South Kordofan and Blue Nile will eventually join the peace process.
Responding to her remarks in the same symposium, NCF official and political secretary of its group member the Popular Congress Party (PCP), Kamal Omer, described the government invitation for political parties to participate in the constitution-drafting process as a “makeup” designed as he said to bestow legitimacy on the regime.
Omer said that they in the opposition don’t recognize the NCP legitimacy because it stems from “rigged elections” as he put it. The opposition official reiterated their demands for the formation of a transitional government to handle the constitution, justifying this position by the eruption of conflicts in large parts of the country and the absence of political and press freedoms.
Omer also stressed that the current parliament has no legitimacy to endorse a permanent constitution, describing it as an executive authority that passes laws fitting the NCP. He further warned against drafting a constitution without the participation of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, saying that excluding the conflict-hit regions would pave the way for the emergence of separatist calls in them.