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Former presidential adviser launches rare attack on Bashir: report

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January 4, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of the Reform Now Party (RNP), Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani, has fiercely attacked the Sudanese president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, and said that he wittily misses historic opportunities in order to clinch to power.

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Former adviser to Bashir and ex-head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) parliamentary bloc Ghazi Salah al-Deen Al-Attabani

Al-Attabani said, in an interview with the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, that the recent changes in government are nothing but decorative measures that would only widen the gap of mistrust between the government and the people.

Last month, Bashir announced a cabinet reshuffle appointing 26 ministers and state ministers.

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.

Only three ministers have retained their posts in the new cabinet, including the foreign minister, Ali Karti, minister of justice, Mohamed Bushara Dousa, and defence minister, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein.

Al-Attabani scoffed at claims of resignations made by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) leaders who recently lost their positions in the party and the government, pointing that the shakeup within the government was not a result of consensus among party members and leadership.

NCP leaders who lost their positions in the party and government said that they resigned their posts in order to allow for new blood, denying the move was over disagreements with others within the party.

Al-Attabani said that they seek to achieve the minimum level of consensus among all political and armed forces in order to establish a just and neutral state that accommodates its entire population, denouncing government response to people who demand their constitutional rights.

He predicted more changes within the NCP and the political scene in general and reiterated that Bashir is constitutionally barred from running again for the presidency, saying that change in Sudan is indispensible.

Al-Attabani lost his position last 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.

Al-Attabani and others then announced that they had made a formal application to establish a new political party under the name of “Reform Now”.

(ST)

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