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DUP figure expects his party to quit Sudan’s government

July 22, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Hatim Al-Sir, a leading member of Sudan’s ex-opposition Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), has predicted that the party will withdraw from the government of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) as the latter has failed to fix the economy and continues to suppress dissent.

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Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ex-presidential candidate in the 2010 elections (AFP)

The DUP is finding itself in an extremely awkward situation as the NCP-dominated government it joined in December last year faces growing public discontent due to the application of austerity measures that further worsened economic conditions for most Sudanese people.

DUP leader Mohammed Osman Al-Mirghani dismissed mass internal dissent over the decision to join the government saying it was taken by the party’s “institutions” and justified by the “need to save the country”.

He has also recently discounted the possibility of leaving the government saying that the reasons which led his party to participate still exist.

However, in an interview published Saturday by Al-Madina newspaper, Hatim Al-Sir admitted that the DUP is caught between a rock and a hard place.

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DUP logo before South Sudan’s independence.

Al-Sir, who ran on the DUP ticket for presidential elections in 2010, said that the government’s austerity measures have put the DUP in “a credibility test” because the party justified its participation by the need to extricate citizens from their suffering.

He went on to say he expects a “swift” DUP withdrawal from the government because the latter is unable to provide solutions for the economic crisis and continues to use a “repressive and totalitarian” approach to countering dissent, which contradicts the DUP’s democratic principles.

The authorities responded with a violent crackdown to small but growing street protests over the last four weeks, detaining more than 2,000 activists, according to local non governmental organisations (NGO’s).

Al-Sir said that the “Arab Spring” has entered Sudan through the gate of the economic crisis, adding that the fact that the protests have been spreading across the country leaves the NCP with no choice but to respect the voice of the people and turn power back to them. According to Al-Sir, this is the only option to protect Sudan’s future and spare the country further suffering.

Al-Sir, who is known for being highly critical of the NCP, said that all prognoses indicate that Sudan will never stabilise under NCP rule and the growing economic crisis for which the NCP has no solutions.

Sudan’s economy has been contracting due to shortage of foreign currency reserves, which NCP officials attribute to the loss of three-quarters of the country’s oil production due to South Sudan’s secession.

Government opponents however blame the economic situation on the NCP’s rampant corruption, failure to diversify the economy and overspending on defence and security.