Fadlallah Burma Nasser has been chosen as interim leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) until the general conference to elect a new leader is held.
The imamate of the Ansar religious group, one of NUP’s popular bases and religious arm, was assigned to Abdel-Mahmoud Abu.
Nasser, a former general from the Misseriya tribe of South Darfur, was the first deputy of the late Sadiq al-Mahdi, the NUP party leader who was died on November 26 after contracting the coronavirus.
Nasser’s rise to leadership breaks the six-decade tradition of an al-Mahdi family member holding the reigns at the NUP.
Since 1964, al-Mahdi served as a vital leader to the NUP while also being the imam of the Ansar group. He was re-elected as NUP head in 2009.
With his death, many predicted a clash erupting among members of al-Mahdi family over the right to inherit the NUP’s leadership.
Nasser’s ascension to power had shut down any fierce competition among established successors like al-Mahdi’s daughter, Mariam, who is the deputy leader of the NUP and his eldest son Abdurrahman, a former aide to ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.
In the 1986 government headed by al-Mahdi, Nasser, 81, served as a minister of defense and transport.
At the seventh NUP general conference, Nasser was elected as deputy leader. His history in the party includes being a member of the politburo and heading a number of committees.
More so, the interim leader stressed the solid unity of the party membership and commitment to the vision of the late al-Mahdi.
In his statement to the Sudan News Agency, Nasser said he would work seriously to hold the party’s general conference soon.
"Base conferences will be held at the level of city or county, district, states, then the general conference. Also, the various colleges will be represented," he said, stressing that "the general conference will be attended by those who actually represent their grassroots."