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Sudan’s DUP says work on new constitution suspended

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October 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani has disclosed that the work of a joint committee established within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to discuss the drafting of the country’s new constitution has been suspended.

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Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ex-presidential candidate in the 2010 elections (AFP)

The DUP leading figure and ex-presidential candidate in the 2010 elections Hatem al-Sir, told the pro-government Ashorooq TV on Saturday that his party wants the participation of all opposition parties and even the armed groups in drafting the new constitution.

Al-Sir also warned that the new constitution must be approved by a constitutional assembly and not the current parliament which he said only represents only the NCP as the party with the sweeping majority.

“We need a constitution which is based on consensus and agreement among all political forces in order to build stable and democratic Sudan”, he said

Last April, Bashir renewed his call for opposition parties and armed groups to engage in a national dialogue on drafting a new constitution.

But the opposition insists that it would not take part in a national dialogue conference unless the ruling NCP agrees to leave power and form interim institutions.

Al-Sir added that the joint committee between the DUP and the NCP on the constitution held several meetings and arrived at common visions and understandings before it was stopped by the NCP but did not say why.

The DUP figure emphasised that the opposition managed to a large extent to achieve its goals even though it failed to bring down the regime and in return the latter was unable to eliminate the presence of the opposition.

He stressed that all political parties need reform and development and pointed to the absence of a healthy political environment, saying that what exists now is only a “Pro forma” pluralism and that the true democratic transformation remains out of reach.

Al-Sir pointed that the DUP would be credited if it managed to convince the NCP to adopt a true democratic transformation which leads to fair and free elections and peaceful transfer of power.

He mentioned the DUP’s participation in the 2010 general elections and said that they wouldn’t repeat that experience unless a fundamental change in elections law is carried out, accusing the elections commission of being biased in favor the NCP.

The DUP official further said that their participation in the government is “symbolic”, acknowledging that the NCP doesn’t consult with them on issues of governance.

“We are part of the government but not part of the decision-making process”, he added

Al-Mirghani’s DUP joined the government in December 2011, despite reports of internal dissent and against the wishes of Sudan’s other main opposition parties who have formed an alliance to try and end Bashir’s 22-year rule.

The decision drew anger among the party members and even some of al-Mirghani’s aides.

Al-Sir mentioned that since the DUP joined the government, its ministers were not assigned real tasks and the NCP holds all true dossiers of governance and treats them as “onlookers”.

He stressed that the DUP is currently evaluating its participation in the government, saying that a decision would be taken after thoroughly examining the various aspects of the experience and weighing its pros and cons.

(ST)

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