October 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - There is speculation that Sudan’s parliamentary speaker, Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir, will announce a decision stripping leaders of the reformist faction within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of their parliamentary seats.
- Sudanese parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)
A decision on the matter is expected after the Sudanese parliament resumes its sessions on Monday following a three-month recess.
This week, an NCP commission of inquiry established by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir recommended the dismissal of three members, including former majority leader in parliament Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, as well as a 12-month suspension for nine other members.
The NCP leadership bureau endorsed the recommendations and referred the matter to the NCP Shura (consultative) council to review and make a binding decision.
The punished members were among a larger group that included more than 30 NCP figures which signed on an open petition to president Bashir last month following the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies which prompted a deadly wave of protests across the country that killed at least 60 according to official figures and more than 200 as reported by activists and rights groups.
However, the head of the parliamentary subcommittee on judiciary and legislation, al-Fadil Hag Suleiman, said that the dismissal of MPs Al-Attabani and Fadlallah Ahmed Abdallah from the national assembly is conditional upon either receiving a request to that effect from the NCP or an official resignation letter from the MPs concerned.
Suleiman denied that his committee received a request from the NCP to drop the memberships of al-Attabani and Fadlallah, telling reporters on Sunday that such a request would be based on article 29 of the parliament regulations and should be presented to the parliamentary affairs subcommittee before being forwarded to his committee to question the MPs on whether they changed their political affiliation or not.
Bashir is due to address the opening of parliament’s eighth session on Monday, with his speech expected to tackle several domestic issues, including recent economic measures and internal security, as well as regional and international issues.
Suleiman said that MPs would discuss the president’s address before approving it, pointing out that the session will see deliberations on the state’s budget, as well as testimonies from ministers of defence, interior, finance, social welfare, justice and foreign affairs.
In a related issue, the NCP downplayed the implications of the reformist group’s intentions to form a new political party, denying that the move would shake its ranks.
NCP spokesperson Yasser Youssef told reporters on Sunday that his party doesn’t enjoy a “veto” to prevent the reformist faction from establishing their own party, adding that any group of citizens have the right to form a new party after meeting the legal requirements according to the law and constitution.
He refused to acknowledge the reform efforts of the group led by al-Attabani, saying that his party doesn’t distinguish between reformist and non-reformist bodies.
Youssef also reiterated that the NCP would not be shaken by the split of the reformist group, calling upon NCP members to abide by the decisions made by party institutions in order to maintain the cohesion of the party.
On Saturday, Al-Attabani declared his intention to leave the NCP and form a new party that would “bring new hope to Sudan”.
He said that the reformist group would consult with large segments of the Sudanese people to arrive at a consensus that accommodates their hopes and aspirations.
Abdallah, who is also a leading figure within the group, said a name for the new party would be announced within a week, adding that a mini-committee had been formed to select a name.