December 9, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - A senior official from National Congress Party (NCP) has suggested that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will not be the party’s candidate for the 2015 elections as part of an ongoing reform process within the ruling party.
- There is speculation that Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will stand down before the 2015 elections (Photo: AFP)
In his first press statements since losing his vice presidential post this week, al-Haj Adam Youssef said that the NCP is capable of picking its candidate for the upcoming elections.
“[President] Bashir could have [voluntarily] abandoned his position [right now], but the reality necessitated that he stays until the end of the [Presidential] term”, Youssef said.
Earlier this year, the Sudanese veteran leader, who staged a military coup in 1989, announced that he is serious about making this term his last after more than a quarter of a century in power.
Bashir stressed that the country is in need of new blood and noted that he had spent more than enough time in the position.
Several Sudanese officials had sought to downplay Bashir’s comments, suggesting that the NCP could force Bashir to run again.
Last June, the Sudanese president himself appeared to backtrack on his previous statements by saying that the media made conclusions on the issue of his candidacy without being fully informed, adding that his re-election will be determined by the NCP’s general convention and the Shura council.
Former presidential adviser Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani lost his position this year as head of the NCP parliamentary caucus after publicly declaring that Bashir is constitutionally barred from running again for the presidency.
However, party officials insisted that there was no link between al-Attabani’s ouster and his remarks on Bashir’s eligibility to run again.
Al-Attabani was expelled from the NCP last October in the wake of a memo he drafted, along with more than two dozen party figures the month before, calling for the reversal of a decision to lift fuel subsidies and an end to the violent measures taken against demonstrators who took to the streets to protest.
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 a letter addressed to Bashir which was seen as a direct challenge to the president who is now the country’s longest-serving leader.
Earlier this month, Al-Attabani and others announced that they had made a formal application to establish a new party.
In an indirect reference to the NCP defectors on Monday, Youssef said the group was taken by surprise after the cabinet reshuffle was announced over the weekend.
“They couldn’t believe that the presidency would seek reform because some of them gave up on reform at a time when the [NCP] leadership was serious”, said Youssef, who still remains the party’s political sector head.
The reshuffle saw the departure of several long-time NCP figures from their governmental posts, including first vice-president Ali Osman Taha, presidential assistant and NCP vice chairman Nafie Ali Nafie and oil minister Awad al-Jaz.
Youssef said that the change process will expand to include NCP sectors and secretariats, as well as the leadership of other government agencies and its affiliated corporations.
The NCP official called on other political parties to mimic the changes implemented by his party and push for new blood at the top.