December 2, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese cabinet is expected to hold an extraordinary session on Tuesday which could be the last one before the new formation is announced, sources told Sudan Tribune.
- FILE PHOTO - Members of Sudan’s cabinet (REUTERS PICTURES)
Thursday is usually the day when the cabinet holds its weekly meeting but the sources said that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will use the Tuesday session to bid farewell to the ministers following discussing other items on the agenda.
The sources further said it is likely that the new cabinet formation will be announced by Thursday at the latest following a meeting of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) leadership council that is also chaired by Bashir.
The new cabinet will hold surprises, the sources confirmed but will also retain some of the old faces.
Hassan Ahmed Taha, the Secretary General of the NCP Economic Bureau, said that no spending cuts are planned to accompany the new formation and that the goal of the reshuffle is to bring capable figures on board and not to reduce expenditure.
The reshuffle has been anticipated since earlier this year amidst deep divisions within the ruling party in the wake of a coup attempt staged last year by NCP supporters and Islamists in the military.
Another crisis shook the NCP when more than 30 of its top members including the party’s ex-head of its parliamentary caucus Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani presented a memo to president Bashir last September criticizing the government’s decision to remove subsidies on fuel and other basic commodities, saying it "harshly" impacted Sudanese citizens.
They chided the government for the excessive violence used against protestors who took the streets against the subsidies cut and called for deep political and economic reforms.
They also urged Bashir to form a mechanism for national reconciliation comprised of various political forces and assign the economic dossier to a professional national economic team.
"The legitimacy of your rule has never been at stake like it is today" they said in their letter to Bashir which was seen as a direct challenge to the president who is now the country’s longest serving leader.
Bashir formed a committee headed by national assembly speaker Ibrahim Al-Tahir to query those whose names appeared in the petition that was circulated publicly.
The commission of inquiry recommended dismissing three members including al-Attabani and temporarily suspending nine others. The decision was endorsed by the NCP leadership council.
Al-Attabani and others later declared his intention to leave the party and form a new one that would "bring new hope to Sudan".
Besides the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and several smaller parties no other major opposition parties are expected to join the new cabinet.