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Sudan’s Bashir guarantees freedom of activities for political parties

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April 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir issued a decree on Monday guaranteeing political parties the freedom to carry out public activities as long as they obtain prior authorisation.

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Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir addresses a session of parliament on 1 April 2013 in Khartoum (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

The presidential decree, which has been in force since Monday, provides for the freedom of political intellectual activities for all political organisations, stressing that all parties should be equally and impartially treated.

While political parties are required to obtain permission to conduct activities in public, they are permitted to hold public meetings, rallies and seminars within their premises or headquarters without prior approval.

The party has to “obtain the approval from the competent authority in enough time, not less than 48 hours, for the purposes of protection and regulation of traffic,” says the decree.

The decree comes as part of measures pledged by the Sudanese government to create a conducive environment in the country before a national process aimed at resolving regional conflicts and reaching agreement on the principles for the adoption of a new constitution.

The People’s Congress Party (PCP) and the National Umma Party (NUP) have expressed support for the process, but stressed the need to ensure political freedoms before the process is launched.

However, the remaining opposition parties allied with the National Consensus Forces (NCF) still reject the move and have called for the existing cabinet dissolved, the release of all political prisoners and the formation of national government.

Rebel alliance – Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) – have demanded the government commence negotiations on a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access to affected people in rebel-held areas in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan before it would agree to take part in the national process.

The SRF has also demanded that the first stage of the process, related to the frameworks and mechanisms of the national dialogue, be brokered by regional and international mediators.

(ST)

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