September 18, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Opposition forces turned down a call by the Sudanese presidency to participate in a consultative meeting over a new constitution the government intends to prepare after the independence of South Sudan last year.
- Farouq Abu Issa, head of opposition parties alliance, speak to the press on 12 June 2012 (ST)
The government said its initiative aims to involve all the Sudanese political forces in a discussion over a permanent constitution before to draft it. The consultation means to take note of their positions over political and institutional issues.
The opposition parties since the secession of South Sudan called to dissolve the current parliament and to form a constituent assembly representing all the political forces besides an interim national government which will be tasked with organization of a general election once the constitution is adopted.
The Umma National Party (UNP) announced Tuesday its rejection to participate in the constitutional forum announced by the Sudanese presidency saying it had already explained its position in a written letter.
Ibrahim Al-Amin, UNP secretary general, reaffirmed the need to agree on a transitional period where the country is administrated by a national government and in presence of an assembly agreed by the political forces.
He stressed importance to ensure the freedom of expression besides lifting the emergency law imposed in Darfur, South Kordofan .
He also stressed that the relationship between religion and the state needs a broad dialogue involving all the political forces in the country.
The main opposition party launched recently a call for a national conference involving all the political parties and the rebel groups alike to agree on a number of general principles to elaborate a new constitution and to discuss peaceful settlement to the armed conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
But the government declined the call saying there is no political crisis in the country requiring such measures. The ruling party said there an elected president and a legitimate parliament elected since the general elections of April 2010 .
The opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF), on the other hand, released a statement announcing its boycott of the meeting saying it represents a new bid from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to enhance its grip on the future of the country.
Farouq Abu Issa, chairman of the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF) questioned the transparency of such process while war is raging in different parts of the country, and the security apparatus controls the media organs.
The Sudanese lawyer further said in a press conference held in Khartoum that the opposition alliance was aware that the National Congress wants to deceive them as the latter had already drafted a constitution that it plans to adopt.
Following the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, the ruling party engaged talks with the Umma and the Democratic Unionist Party only over the formation of a coalition government and an Islamic constitution.
Bashir who repeatedly pledged to adopt an Islamic constitution accused the other opposition forces of plotting with the rebel groups and the South Sudanese government to topple the regime and said he would not deal with them over this issue.
The NCP spokesperson Badr El-Din Ibrahim regretted the refusal of opposition forces stressing that such demarche has a national character and aims to consult all the parties on the new constitution.
He went further to add that they know that the opposition tasked the Islamist leader of the Popular Congress Party, Hassan Al-Turabi to prepare a draft constitution and their participation in this meeting will allow them to give the positions they have adopted
He pointed out that the opposition would not be able to oppose the new constitution once it is adopted by referendum or through a constituent assembly.