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Opposition NUP leader calls on Sudan’s al-Bashir to step down

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NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi addresses the party's leading member on 2 March 2019 ST
March 2, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi called on President Omer al-Bashir to step down and proposed some measures he said could pave the way for an end to the current stand-off between the army and the people.

Since mid-December, President Omer al-Bashir has been facing a wave of popular protests calling for him to leave.

In response, al-Bashir has tightened his grip on power saying he would remain until the elections in 2020. So he has decided to impose a state of emergency, dismissed the governors, replace them with army and security leaders, and dissolved the National Consensus government.

In a speech to his party’s leading members in Khartoum on Saturday, al-Mehdi proposed a number of measures to end the current crisis called it a "liberation capsule."

The capsule includes the lift of the state of emergency and release of political detainees and activists.

"To step down to establish a new order to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and democratization in a peaceful and inclusive manner without violence," stressed al-Mahdi who is also the leader of the opposition alliance Sudan Call.

Furthermore, he said that al-Bashir has to meet with representatives of popular, professional and civil forces that demand a new order "to agree on the details of the transition to the new regime".

Al-Mahdi in his speech also rejected what he called the militarization of the administration because it would lead to confrontation between the military institution and the people.

This is the third public intervention of the opposition leader who returned to Sudan on 19 December 2018 the same day where erupted the nationwide protests. Previously he called for an international investigation into the killing of peaceful protesters and backed the anti-government protests.

Following the imposition of the state of emergency on 22 February, al-Bashir called for a dialogue with the opposition forces based on the National Document including the recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference in October 2016.

The opposition forces say al-Bashir has to leave pointing out that after 30 years of power he has proven his failure to establish a democratic rule in the country.

Another public meeting was scheduled to take place at the NUP premises after the leadership meeting. However, the security forces surrounded the building and prevented opposition representatives and partisans from joining the Umma leader.

The public meeting was dedicated to the memory of the martyrs and solidarity with the wounded during the past two months and the detainees.

In a statement released on Saturday evening, the NUP Secretariat condemned the ban of the meeting and announced it would hold it again next Wednesday.

The opposition party stressed that preventing peaceful expression is contrary to the Constitution and international covenants. It further said that in accordance with the constitution, the state of emergency can only be imposed in the event of war, to face foreign invasion, natural disaster or economic collapse.

Sudanese officials said the state of emergency meat at facing the economic crisis and to fight corruption.

(ST)

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