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Party leader calls for postponement of Sudan’s 2015 elections

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March 2, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the Reform Now Party (RNP), Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani said that it is in the interest of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to postpone elections to allow time for president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s recent initiative to bear fruit.

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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

"I fear for the NCP in the event that the next elections are held because time is running out and political issues have not been addressed," al-Attabani said in an interview with the pro-government Ashorooq TV on Sunday.

The party leader who was expelled from the NCP late last year said that Bashir has the power to delay the polls "in a heartbeat".

Bashir addressed the nation last January announcing a 4-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalize 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.

The NCP later said the lack of specificity was to give room for opposition parties to give their input.

The Sudanese leader said that rebel groups will be accepted into the dialogue only if they lay down arms. But the rebel umbrella known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) has brushed aside Bashir’s offer.

The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) are the only opposition parties who so far announced their acceptance to Bashir’s call for national dialogue.

Last month, Bashir also asserted that the 2015 elections will take place on time adding that the NCP seeks to agree with majority of the political forces to participate in it.

Al-Attabani said that there is a chance for political dialogue on the horizon that is unprecedented in the history of Sudan.

He also noted the emergence of key changes in Sudanese political landscape such as the existence of influential groups outside the traditional political bodies in the form of armed movements in addition to a stream of young people who interact through social networking who led the Arab spring revolutions in a number of countries.

"We are seeking a strong and impartial state and a democratic system. We do not look at ourselves as a traditional party but a popular section that does not resemble traditional ideological organizations," the RNP chief said before adding that he did not mean to belittle other parties.

Al-Attabani also emphasized that the economy cannot flourish except in a good healthy political environment.

The former presidential adviser 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.

(ST)

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