January 29 , 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi, held a rare meeting on Wednesday with the head of the recently established Reform Now Party (RNP), Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani.
- Head of the Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi (L) and leader of Reform Now Party (RNP), Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani (R)
The two men agreed to set up joint committees for political and intellectual coordination between the two parties besides promoting issues of freedoms, full transitional status, constitution and elections.
The PCP political secretary, Kamal Omer Abdel-Salam, said at a press conference that a delegation from his party led by Turabi and his deputy Abdalla Hassan Ahmed visited the headquarters of the RNP and met with Attabani and several other members including Hassan Osman Rizg, Osama Tawfig and Samia Habbani.
He added that both parties agreed to conduct more consultations with all political parties in order to reach a consensual solution for Sudan’s political crisis instead of the military, security, and violent solutions.
Abdel-Salam defended his party’s acceptance for the government invitation to attend president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir’s speech on Monday, saying they participated to serve religious and national interests.
Well placed sources told Sudan Tribune that PCP’s general secretariat voted on whether to attend the speech or not, saying fourteen members voted in favor of attending the speech while four others objected.
Attabani vehemently denied rumors about a secret deal reached between himself, Bashir, and Turabi prior to the presidential speech.
“This is a baseless talk. We attended the speech to listen to the president and there was no deal with the ruling party,” he said
The former adviser to Bashir went on to say that they attended the presidential address to express keenness to communicate with all political forces including the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in order to arrive at a common vision for resolving Sudan’s problems.
He pointed that some people who believe in the conspiracy theory still think that Turabi’s defection from the NCP and the Islamic Movement (IM) is a mere “play”.
Turabi split from the NCP in 1999 following a bitter power struggle with Bashir. He was subsequently ousted from his post as parliament speaker.
He later established PCP and has since been a vociferous critic of the very regime for which he orchestrated the army-backed seizure of power in 1989.
Attabani himself split from the NCP in 2013 over calls for reforms, transparency and democratic changes. He later established the RNP saying it would "bring new hope to Sudan".
Abdel-Salam said they are convinced the regime does not believe in freedoms, saying they wouldn’t care about the government’s preconditions for resuming publication of the PCP newspaper particularly as it does not violate the law and the constitution.
Earlier this week, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) lifted a two-year ban on the PCP’s mouthpiece Ray Al-Shaab, but it stipulated 19 conditions for resuming its publication which were swiftly rejected by the editorial board and the party.
He emphasised that the regime does not have a vision for a achieving peace in the country, saying its army and militias continue to bombard innocent civilians in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The PCP official further stressed that they have no vendetta against political parties, saying they only care about issues of Islam and Sudan, underscoring that overcoming the political crisis requires a declaration of new policies by president Bashir.
He argued that their alliance with the opposition parties and the rebel coalition known as the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) is a strategic one, mentioning their agreement on the democratic alternative program, transitional constitution, regime change and the interim government.
Abdel-Salam denounced the NCP’s stonewalling approach and said selectivity wouldn’t solve Sudan’s problems, stressing the need for engaging all political parties without exclusion.
He said that Bashir’s speech had not addressed Sudan’s fundamental issues and the full transitional status, saying his party wouldn’t wait too long for the president to make the right move.