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Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

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DUP logo before South Sudan’s independence.

Arabic Transliteration: Al Hizb Al-Ittihadi Al-Dimuqrati

Founded: 1967

Headquarters: Khartoum

Ideology: Arab Nationalism

Leader: Mohamed Osman Al Mirghani

Background

The DUP is a merger of the National Unionist Party and People’s Democratic Party.

In 2011, after South Sudan’s independence the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), formed a government with Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP).


This background of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is taken from The Sudanese press after separation – Contested identities of journalism. MICT 2012, Page 42.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the oldest political party in Sudan, with origins dating from the first half of the 19th century when the Khatmiyya Sufi order was founded by Mohamed Osman Al Mirghani.15 In 1943 Khatmiyya followers and Ismail Al Azhari, a professor of mathematics, founded its predecessor, the urban- based Ashigga Party, which in 1952 was transformed into the secularist National Unionist Party (NUP). After a massive victory in the 1953 elections, Azhari became the first Sudanese prime minister under Anglo-Egyptian colonial rule. He led Sudan into independence in 1956, having reversed the party’s position on uniting with Egypt.16 Following the 1958 military take- over, the NUP was disbanded like all other parties. When the Abboud regime was overthrown in 1964, Azhari was elected head of state, and the NUP entered into coalition with the Umma Party. Both sectarian parties revived their traditional patronage systems. In 1967, the NUP merged with the Khatmiyya’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form the DUP.17 After the 1969 “socialist” May Revolution, the DUP was again dissolved like all other parties, under the one-party rule of Numeiri’s Sudanese Socialist Union (see SSU); it continued its opposition from exile. In 1978, the DUP entered with other parties into National Reconciliation with the Numeiri regime, which was overthrown in 1985. In the 1986 parliamentary elec- tions, the DUP won the second largest number of seats and participated in a coalition government with the Umma. The DUP’s deputy head and Khatmiyya hereditary leader Ahmed Al Mirghani, a great-grandson of the order’s founder, became president of the republic.18 Following the 1989 army coup, the DUP became one of the founding members of the opposition umbrella NDA; DUP leader Mohamed Osman Al Mirghani became its chairman.19 When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended the war in the South in 2005, Mirghani signed a political reconciliation agreement with the government.20 He returned to Sudan from exile in Egypt in 2008. The 2010 general elections showed that the DUP – like Umma – suffered both from internal factionalism and from an erosion of its tradi- tional base. In late 2011, Mirghani led his party into a coalition government with Bashir. His son, Jafar Al Sadiq, became a presidential assistant.

Unionist Movement

The Unionist Movement is a faction of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which opposed to the decision of its leader Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani to join a coalition government led by ruling Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) after the independence of South Sudan in July 2011.

They are now member of the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF) and signed a memorandum of understanding in October 2012 with the rebel alliance of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF).

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