Sudan: A Power-Sharing Deal Could Tamp Down Sudan's Political Crisis

2 MINS READJul 5, 2019 | 16:49 GMT
The Big Picture

After the ouster of longtime Sudanese leader Omar al Bashir, the country's political transition stagnated as the military and civilian opposition groups struggled for control. If a transition to civilian rule eventually takes hold, the Red Sea country would likely be able to start tackling its burning problems, most notably its economic meltdown. Nevertheless, key military figures will want to maintain the institution's upper hand over the transition process, and by extension, the country.

What Happened

Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council and Sudanese opposition leaders reached a power-sharing agreement that provides for the creation of a ruling council to oversee the country until elections, tentatively scheduled for around October 2022, can be held. Both sides agreed that the country would be governed "for a period of three years or slightly more" by a joint military-civilian council composed of five military personnel and five civilians, plus another civilian agreed to by both sides, according to an intermediary from the African Union.

Why It Matters

The agreement is a significant development amid Sudan's ongoing political crisis and a step — albeit a tentative one — toward the formation of a new government in the aftermath of the ouster of longtime President Omar al Bashir. The agreement could also significantly tamp down strikes, civil disobedience campaigns and other protest activity, which have severely disrupted business throughout Sudan. The Sudanese Professionals Association and other groups that have organized past protest activity are parties to the agreement.

The agreement could significantly tamp down strikes, civil disobedience campaigns and other protest activity, which have severely disrupted business throughout Sudan.

What to Look for Next 

The decision over who will occupy the civilian seat that both sides must agree to could become a key sticking point in military-opposition negotiations. Early reporting suggests the seat will be reserved for a retired military figure now in civilian life. This indicates that the seat, which will likely become the council's swing vote, may align with the military. If true, this would give the armed forces the upper hand over the country's transition process via the sovereign council. Of course, even if the holder of the civilian seat has past military loyalties, that person's tiebreaking votes could instead favor the civilian point of view over the country's transition process.

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