After months of uncertainty in Sudan, a landmark power-sharing deal has been formally signed between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces of Freedom and Change Alliance (FFC) which seeks to begin the transition to civilian rule in Sudan.
The agreement was signed in the capital Khartoum by Mohamed Hamdan, Deputy Chief of the TMC, and Ahmed al-Rabie of the FFC. It promises the establishment of an 11-member Sovereign Council, led by a military member for the first 21 months and then by a civilian leader for the next 18 months. Five council members will be selected by the TMC, five selected by the FFC, and one agreed upon by both the TMC and FFC. It is then hoped that general elections will be held in 2022 in order to form a civilian government.
Since Sudan’s president for over three decades, Omar al-Bashir, was overthrown and arrested in April this year, the country has been in a state of political unrest. The TMC, who assumed temporary control of the country, has repeatedly promised that they will help to facilitate a transition to civilian rule with general elections to take place in three years. All the while, several pro-democracy protest crackdowns by military forces have resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, including school children.
Despite the agreement paving the way for democracy in Sudan, there are still many hurdles that the Sovereign Council may be ill-equipped to overcome. As Alex de Waal, Executive Director at the World Peace Foundation has critically argued, the current power-sharing negotiations do not address “the real sources of power: who controls the gold, the foreign exchange, and the guns. A civilian government emerging from today’s negotiations would be impotent to address Sudan’s real problems.”
Indeed, most facets of life for Sudanese people have worsened in the past year. Food and oil prices have increased to exponential levels, meaning many people can only afford to buy one meal per day. Additionally, labourers are only earning the equivalent of U.S. $3 per day. Compounding these insecurities, the military is still set to have a remarkable presence in the Council over the next few years. Constraining TMC officials from allowing ongoing murder, rape, and general mistreatment of civilians is a difficult, but absolute priority.
When the Sovereign Council begins to convene this coming week, the path forward for Sudan will start to become clearer.
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