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Popular Congress Party (PCP)

Popular Congress Party (PCP) Leadership

Background

This background on the PCP is taken from The Sudanese press after separation – Contested identities of journalism. MICT 2012, Page 44.

The Popular Congress Party was founded as the Popular National Congress Party (PNCP) when it split off from the ruling NCP. It is led by Sheikh Turabi who holds a doctorate in law from the Sorbonne in Paris. In the early 1960s he joined Sudan’s Muslim Brothers Organization, which was founded in 1952 by University of Khartoum students as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization of Egypt. During the 1964 popular uprising against General Abboud’s military regime, Turabi led the Brotherhood’s party, the Islamic Charter Front (ICF), to a prominent role.

In the 1965 and 1968 elections, the ICF won a number of seats, primarily amongst student constituencies. It also managed to push its urge for an Islamic constitution onto the agenda of the mainstream parties, Umma and DUP. After Jafar Numeiri’s 1969 “socialist” May Revolution, the ICF was persecuted like all other parties. However, following Numeiri’s policy of National Reconciliation in 1977, the activists of the dissolved ICF re-entered the political stage, with Turabi taking over the influential attorney general position. In the 1986 elect- ions, the ICF successor National Islamic Front (NIF) won the third largest number of seats, mainly in and around the national capital.

In 1988, Turabi served first as minister of justice and then as minister of foreign affairs as well as deputy prime minister in a coalition government with the Umma party, focusing on defending Islamic law and opposing negotiations with the rebel SPLM/A. However, in early 1989, the NIF was ousted from the coalition under pressure from the army. Turabi is generally considered to be the mastermind of the 1989 coup by Islamist army officers. He played a crucial role in designing the new government’s Islamic policies, was elected speaker of the National Assembly in 1996 and in 1998, was elected secretary- general of the NCP, which evolved out of the NIF. However, in 1999, he was ousted from these positions over differences with President Bashir and his followers. He and his supporters subsequently founded the PC. Since then, he and his fellow party leaders have been repeatedly detained or placed under house arrest. The PC has remained one of the most vociferous opponents of the ruling NCP, advocating for regime change through a popular uprising.


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