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Sudan’s opposition dialogue parties form new alliance

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August 4, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese opposition parties participating in the national dialogue have formed a new alliance under the name of the National Forces Alliance (NFA) , and urged president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to stand at the same distance from opposition and government parties.

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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)

The leading figure at the Reform Now Party (RNP), Hassan Rizq, in a press on Monday said the new alliance is comprised of 18 political parties participating in the national dialogue.

He pointed they agreed that a framework agreement with the government must include formation of “special-purpose government” for two years in order to implement the dialogue’s outcome.

He added the new alliance would only be obliged to elections date and its administrative and procedural arrangements if it was agreed upon on the national dialogue.

Rizq accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of using elections as a tool to threaten the opposition parties, saying they don’t recognise the recent appointments of the National Elections Commission (NEC) members or the final election schedules.

He described the NEC as “zero to the left”, demanding formation of an administratively and financially independent elections commission.

The NEC is expected to announce the final election schedules in a press conference on Wednesday.

Sudan’s general elections are set to be held in April 2015 but opposition parties threatened to boycott it, saying NCP holds absolute control over power and refuse to make any compromise to end the civil war and allow public liberties.

The RNP leading figure further accused unnamed parties of obstructing the national dialogue, saying the NCP leaders understand dialogue as a process aimed at accommodating opposition while the opposition think of it as means to establish a just and democratic state.

He demanded president Bashir to stand at the same distance from the opposition and the government parties, saying “they (NCP) want to engage us in dialogue and then fool us”.

TURABI REJECTS NEW UMBRELLA

The chairman of the Just Peace Forum (JPF), al-Tayeb Mustafa, for his part, said that the leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan al-Turabi, conveyed to him his party’s rejection for the formation of the new opposition alliance, stressing the PCP will not be part of it.

NCP political secretary, Kamal Omer, in press statements on Monday confirmed they are not part of the new umbrella.

He further said they refuse to divulgate the divergences among the opposition parties participating in the political process and the ruling party, stressing that the issues posed in the press conference should not be discussed publicly but within the dialogue mechanism.

He further pointed that they are the first political force to demand the formation of a national transitional government, considering talk about it from other allied forces is not only a political “blackmail”.

The PCP believes that the opposition parties should engage in a confidence building process with ruling party and to bring it to make the necessary concessions.

Turabi, different sources say, is now convinced that the dialogue process is the only path towards democratic reforms as it also offers them the possibility to reunify the Islamic political forces.

However, Bashir’s uncle and JPF leader warned Monday that if the NCP continues to refuse the transitional government, the opposition will stop the dialogue process.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Nasserite Socialist Party (NSP) and member of the dialogue committee known as 7+7, Mustafa Mahmoud, accused Bashir of being non-neutral, saying he chairs the committee meetings as a chairman of the NCP and adopts the latter’s position.

He asserted they wouldn’t accept any dialogue which does not lead to formation of a transitional government, saying they agreed with the government on many issues. However, he declined to elaborate on these issues, saying they vowed not to reveal them.

Mahmoud further pointed to slow pace of implementing dialogue’s requirements.

The NCP for the time being refuses to accept the opposition demands for a transitional government and postponement of 2015 elections for two additional years.

Last January, Bashir called on political parties and rebel groups to engage in a national dialogue to discuss ways to bring peace in the country and to discuss constitutional reforms.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), gathering left forces, boycotted the political roundtable, asking the government first to stop war and create a conducive environment for the dialogue.

While the opposition forces implicated in the dialogue parties pose the same concerns but say such matters can be discussed within the national dialogue mechanism.

However, National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi suspended its participation in the political process after his detention last May.

Mahdi now demands the restoration of political freedoms and inclusion of rebel groups in the political process. However, he calls to exclude the small political formation at this stage and to involve only the “six historical parties”.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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