February 23, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese opposition alliance known as the National Consensus Front (NCF) has rejected the ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) offer to form a national government with the participation of opposition parties.
- From left to right: Leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan Al-Turabi, Reform Now Party (RNP) head Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi and second vice-president Hassabo Abdel-Rahman attend a speech by the president announcing a national dialogue initiative on 27 January 2014 (SUNA)
On Saturday, the NCP announced for the first time its acceptance of a national government in the event that the upcoming national dialogue with opposition parties approves it.
The ruling party however, cautioned that such a government would not be a transitional one as the NCF demands.
The NCF renewed its adherence to conditions put forward before responding to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s call for engaging in a national dialogue.
Last month, Bashir addressed the nation announcing a 4-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity", calling for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items though he did not specify practical steps to do so.
Several of Sudan’s opposition parties swiftly rejected Bashir’s initiative and instead proposed forming a transitional government and holding a national conference with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution for the conflicts in Darfur region, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states.
The interim government, in accordance with the opposition vision, would organize general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, paving the way for a new democratic regime.
The NCP rejects this proposal saying opposition parties must simply prepare for the 2015 elections and that rebels should sign first peace accords.
The NCF chairman, Farouq Abu Issa, told Sudan Tribune they stick to their conditions saying if the ruling party rejected them they would continue to mobilize the masses to overthrow the government through popular uprising.
He warned political parties against accepting NCP invitation prior to its approval for NCF’s conditions, but he stopped short of saying that the opposition alliance would dismiss parties which accepted NCP’s call for dialogue.
“The NCF will not expel any political party but those who do not adhere to its declared objectives are automatically out of it”, he said.
According to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news network, Abu Issa said there is nothing new in the NCP’s call for a national government, describing it as a “mere talk”.
“They don’t want us to be their partners, they want us as their employees”, he said.
Abu Issa further pointed they warned those who accepted Bashir’s invitation against the government plan which he said is intended to secure a soft landing for the ruling party, claiming the whole project was proposed by the United States.
He said those who have engaged in endless talks with the NCP have realized the futility of dialogue, calling upon them to come back and stick to the NCF conditions.
The NCF will hold a press conference on Monday to announce the opposition’s stance with regard to Bashir’s call for national dialogue.
Meanwhile, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) led by Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi announced it would examine government’s proposal for forming national government, and urged the NCP to demonstrate enough flexibility and political realism in order to a achieve a common vision for solving Sudan’s problems.
The NUP’s foreign relations secretary, Nageeb Al-Khair Abdel-Wahab, said in a press statement that the party’s institutions would hold a workshop to examine the NCP’s proposal for forming a national government.
He stressed their talks with the ruling party are continuing with an open heart and insight in order to arrive at the national dialogue which would achieve the democratic transformation, peace and security.
Al-Khair added that forming a national government without participation of opposition parties and civil society organization would be a futile attempt, emphasizing that the country is in need for a genuine dialogue that brings all forces together to build a Sudan that accommodates all its people.
The NUP and the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by the Islamic leader Hassan Al-Turabi are the only opposition parties who so far announced their acceptance to Bashir’s call for national dialogue.