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Sudan’s opposition PCP urges to introduce freedoms bill to parliament

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December 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The main opposition and Islamic political group supporting the internal dialogue process, Popular Congress Party (PCP) Friday disclosed they officially requested to achieve a constitutional reform protecting political freedoms.

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Members of the national dialogue general assembly and President Omer al-Bashir attend the third session of the internal process in Khartoum on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

The Sudanese authorities recently have arrested a large number of political leaders and activists who called to protest against economic austerity measures, also the press has been sharply censored and printed editions confiscated.

To distance themselves from these repressive measures, over 108 PCP cadres signed a memorandum urging the leadership of the party to not compromise with the ruling NCP or to accept to participate in the upcoming transitional government without ensuring that freedoms are effectively restored as it was agreed by the dialogue conference.

Reached by Sudan Tribune for comment on the move, Suhair Ahmed Salah, an influential member of the PCP General Secretariat said the party didn’t yet formally receive the memo which is largely circulated on social media.

"The recommendations of the National Dialogue (Conference) can be implemented through pressures and patience, but not tensions," she further said, before to unveil that her party has "filed a memorandum to the Chairperson of the National Dialogue Higher Coordinating Mechanism, President Omar al-Bashir, requesting to introduce public freedoms reform bill to the parliament".

In line with the resolutions of the dialogue conference held last October, the government filled a bill to the parliament to amend the constitution in order to create the position of prime minister and to represent the political groups participating in the process in the two legislative chambers.

The measures related the creation of a suitable political atmosphere in the country, including the freedom of expression and other public liberties, have been ignored without explanation from the government to its dialogue partners.

A member of the dialogue mechanism, Tadjadine Bechir Niam told Sudan Tribune that all agreed constitutional reforms would be implemented, pointing that only the presidency has the right to lodge the bill of constructional reforms.

After the adoption of the first batch of constitutional reforms (four amendments) by the parliament, the presidency will introduce the remaining 29 reforms, Niam said.

"I can assure you that all the constitutional amendments will be endorsed," he emphasized.

Since the death of its charismatic leader Hassan al-Turabi in March 2016, the PCP struggles with internal divisions over the position to adopt vis-à-vis the ruling party and its dialogue process.

To avoid widening these differences, the leadership of the opposition party announced they would not take part of the transitional government but may accept to participate in the appointed parliament.

(ST)

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