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Sudan’s DUP disavows government decision to raise fuel and electricity price

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Drivers queue up in their vans for fuel at a gas station in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on December 21, 2013 (Photo AFP /Ashraf Shazly)

November 5, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The largest partner in Sudan’s government, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani has criticized the recent rise of fuel and electricity prices, saying it was not consulted in the decision.

The DUP left opposition ranks and joined the “broad-based” government of the National Congress Party (NCP) in December 2011, citing the “need to save the country” in the words of al-Mirghani himself.

On Thursday, Sudanese government lifted fuel subsidies and increased electricity price in a bid to stop the surge in inflation and control the fall of Sudanese pound in the black market.

However, member of the DUP’s Leading Commission Ali Ahmed al-Sayed told Sudan Tribune that they met on Saturday and decided to reject the government decision to increase price of goods and services.

He pointed that the Leading Commission formed a five-member committee to “resist the decision”, stressing the committee would seek to convince the NCP to reverse its decision.

“If they refuse to undo their decision, then we will decide our next move” he said
Al-Sayed said that two of the DUP cabinet ministers told the Leading Commission that the NCP didn’t consult with the political parties in the governing coalition on the removal of subsidies.

“Our minister were caught by surprise … the decision was made by the ruling party,” he said.

The DUP official described these economic measures as “the first nail in the coffin of the national dialogue and its outcome”, saying NCP should have left the government of the national concord which would be formed within three months to take such a decision.

Social media users have widely shared a leaked audio of the Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s speech before the NCP Shura Council members last week in which he warned them of hard days to come due to the planned government policies to liberalize the prices of commodities and scrapping subsidies.

Meanwhile, the leading figure at the National Umma Party (NUP) Mubarak al-Fadil has criticised the decision to raise fuel and electricity price and demanded the government to suspend its implementation until the end of year.

At a press conference in Khartoum on Saturday, al-Fadil said the outcome of the national dialogue has accurately defined the economic crisis and provided a comprehensive monetary and fiscal policy reform measures restore economic stability.

He pointed out that the government took its decision at entirely the wrong time, saying this would undermine the dialogue process and raise political tension.

Al-Fadil further warned that the holdout opposition could seize the opportunity to create confusion and tensions, expecting that wide confrontations could occur on the streets forcing the government to take extraordinary measures and hence undermining the dialogue.

Last month, the political forces participating at the government-led national dialogue concluded the process by signing the national document which includes the general features of a future constitution to be finalized by transitional institutions.

The opposition groups boycotted the process because the government didn’t agree on humanitarian truce with the armed groups and due to its refusal to implement a number of confidence building measures.

The recommendations of the conference provide to open the door for the holdout opposition groups to sign the framework text and to join the transitional government and parliament that would work to implement the reforms agreed in the National Document.

(ST)

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