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Sudan's Opposition, Ruling Military Council Sign Accord on Transitional Gov't

Sudan's Opposition, Ruling Military Council Sign Accord on Transitional Gov't

Saturday, 17 August, 2019 - 12:15
A Sudanese protester from the city of Atbara arrives at the Bahari station in Khartoum on August 17, 2019, to celebrate transition to civilian rule. (Photo by Ahmed Mustafa / AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Sudan's main opposition coalition and the ruling military council on Saturday signed a historic deal that paves the way for a transition to a civilian-led government following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

The agreement was signed in the capital Khartoum in the presence of regional and international dignitaries including Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

One of Sudan's top generals, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) representative Ahmad al-Rabie were the main signatories.

The deal establishes an 11-member joint military and civilian council to rule for a little over three years until elections can be held. It will also establish a Cabinet appointed by the activists and dominated by civilians, and a legislative body.

The interior and defense ministers are to be chosen by military members of the council.

The composition of the civilian-majority transition ruling council is to be announced on Sunday.

But TMC's spokesperson, Shams El Din Kabbashi, said Saturday that the sovereign council will include TMC head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Dagalo and Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta.

The council will include five members selected by the TMC, five picked by the main opposition coalition, and one agreed upon by both sides.

The military's two remaining members will be named at a later time, Kabbashi said.

On Thursday, former senior UN official Abdalla Hamdok, a veteran economist, was designated as transitional prime minister.

After weeks of tense negotiations, both sides reached a preliminary agreement on the Constitutional Declaration earlier this month following international pressure.

The military overthrew Bashir following months of protests against his three-decade rule. The protesters remained in the streets, demanding a rapid transition to civilian leadership.

"Today, the country begins its historic transition to democracy," read the front page of the Tayar newspaper on Saturday, a headline echoed by most other dailies.

One of the most immediate diplomatic consequences of the compromise reached this month could be the lifting of a suspension slapped on Sudan by the African Union in June.

Hundreds of people boarded a train from the town of Atbara -- the birthplace of the protests back in December -- on Friday night, dancing and singing on their way to the celebrations in Khartoum, videos shared on social media showed.

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