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Sudan extends parliamentary session amid expectations to pass freedoms reforms

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December 28, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - On Wednesday, the current session of the Sudanese parliament has been extended by three week, giving the National Congress Party led ruling coalition more time to pass additional bills and constitutional reforms endorsed by the National Dialogue Congress last October.

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Sudan National Assembly.

Also, the national dialogue mechanism Wednesday has postponed a scheduled meeting to Monday in order to reach a compromise over the request of opposition groups to introduce the constitutional amendments on the public freedoms to the parliament.

The Sudanese parliament on Wednesday formally adopted several constitutional reforms to creating the position of the prime minister, his areas of competences and, increasing the seats of parliaments to represent all the political forces during the transitional period.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune following the adoption of reforms, leading member of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) Suhair Ahmed Salah said their party has informed the dialogue body headed by President Omer al-Bashir about its objection to the partial adoption of reforms and the delay of constitutional amendments on freedoms.

Accordingly, a meeting of the dialogue mechanism scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed to next Monday to reach a compromise between the parties, Salah added.

The leader of the seven opposition parties participating in the dialogue (and PCP secretary general) held a consultations meeting with the head of the government parties on the objections to the constitutional reforms.

"There was a breakthrough and the other party accepted," she said adding "I believe that the postponement of the dialogue mechanism meeting and the extension of the parliamentary session are positive signs," she said.

The PCP official went to say that the vote of the amendments related to the position of the prime minister and the representation of opposition groups in the parliament sends a negative message and gives the impression that the focus is only on the power sharing reforms, while the PCP believes that the priority should be given to the issues of freedoms and to address the root-causes of Sudan’s problems.

Tadjadine Bechir Niam, a member of the governing parties group in the dialogue body, told Sudan Tribune that the decision to postpone the meeting aims to reach a compromise on the priority of constitutional reforms

He further reiterated that additional reforms will be filed to the parliament very soon, after the adoption of the first batch of Wednesday.

However another member of the governing parties group, Bushara Gumma Aro ruled out that the constitutional reforms be the cause of the postponement.

He said the remaining reforms can be done in presence of new participants in the parliament and the government.

"The endorsed constitutional amendments aim to pave the way for the next phase. All the parties will participate in the upcoming constitutional and legal reforms."

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
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