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Agar calls on Sudanese opposition to consider participation in 2020 election

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SPLM-N leader Malok Agar (C) with his deputy Yasir Arman on his right and secretary general Ismail Jabab on his left on 16 November 2017 (ST)

November 30, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Malik Agar called on the Sudanese opposition forces to agree on a plan to participate in the 2020 presidential elections in order to end peacefully the rule of al-Bashir’s regime.

The Sudanese opposition forces used to boycott the electoral process in the country since the 1989 coup d’état, denouncing the lack of peace, and democratic environment. The rejection of electoral process allowed the regime to divide the opposition and attract some forces to join it.

While the political process brokered by the African Union is deadlocked, they country witnesses growing calls by various political and civil society groups to amend the constitution to re-elect the ICC-wanted president for a third term in the 2020 elections.

In a letter recently sent to the opposition groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Sudan Call, National Consensus Forces (NSC) and the Broad National Front (BNF) Agar called to reach a joint political agenda for change linking the upcoming elections to a just peace and democratic transition in the country.

He further called for a "broad public battle for free and fair elections in a democratic environment, ending the war, achieving peace and freedoms," according to the letter seen by Sudan Tribune, stressing they "refuse to participate in the National Congress elections but call for an objective discussion to move from the negative boycott".

Several opposition groups such as the NSC and the BNF reject any negotiated solution with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and insist on the need to eradicate the regime of President al-Bashir through the popular uprising.

However, others political forces as the National Umma Party of Sadiq al-Mahdi join Agar’s implicit call to participate in the elections saying it would create a new dynamic enabling the political forces to mobilise the street and challenge the regime.

Also, the forces favourable to the participation in the elections say the current opposition divisions over the negotiated solution create a political vacuum and intertie leaving the NCP alone on the scene without being able to propose a valid alternative.

Agar underscored the opposition "inability to cope with political developments" in the country. Also, he mentioned the differences of the opposition (forces) which "have become futile and a major obstacle to pushing forward the agenda for change", and pointed to the "unfortunate differences" that have occurred within the SPLM North.

CONDITION FOR 2020 ELECTIONS

Nonetheless, the rebel leader provided several conditions for the opposition’s participation in the next election within two years.

In his letter, Agar posed seven conditions for the opposition participation in the general elections of 2020, including the non-participation of President Omer al-Bashir and for which he asked the international community to support it.

The SPLM-N leader called to reach a comprehensive peace agreement that takes into account the specificities of the war zones including new comprehensive security arrangements before the elections, to enable the armed groups to participate in democratic and fair elections.

He also underlined the need to abolish laws restricting freedoms in order to hold elections in a democratic environment.

He called to adopt a new electoral law based on ’Proportional Representation’, and to develop agreed standards to ensure the independence of electoral bodies, including the National Elections Commission.

Agar further requested an agreement on "effective transitional measures" to ensure the impartiality of the executive power and the security services to ensure the integrity of the elections.

his last condition is to ensure that the state resources are not used for the benefit of one party, but also to discuss the election financing.

In a separate development, the SPLM-N Agar Secretary General Ismail Jalab Thursday reiterated the Movement’s commitment to the peace process under the auspices of the AUHIP. He also called on the Troika countries to press Khartoum to achieve a genuine peace by linking between Sudan’s lift from the list of terror states and the peace process.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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