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Sudan Islamists Struggle to Choose Turabi's Successor

Sudan Islamists Struggle to Choose Turabi's Successor

Sunday, 8 May, 2022 - 08:45
Eid el-Fitr prayers in Khartoum (File photo: AFP)

Sudan's Islamist parties, the National Congress and the Popular Congress parties, will soon begin a new chapter in their conflict. The new development comes two weeks after Islamist parties, except the Popular Congress, signed a new political charter to establish the "Broad Islamic Current."

The National Congress Party (NCP) is led by former President Omar al-Bashir, while the Popular Congress Party (PCP) is chaired by Ali al-Hajj, who is in prison.

The two parties have a long history of rivalry and competition after Bashir overthrew the "godfather" of the Islamist movement in Sudan, Hassan al-Turabi, in 1999.

The designated Sec-Gen of the Popular Congress Party, Al-Amin Abdel Razek, criticized at a meeting a top National Congress leader, whom he did not name. However, the audience chanted the name of Ali Karti, who has been living outside Sudan since December 2018.

Abdel Razek accused the NCP official of plotting to overthrow Ali al-Hajj from the Popular Congress Party and hinted that he led to his imprisonment in Kober Central Prison in Khartoum.

Hajj is on trial for participating in the planning and implementation of the June 30, 1989 coup, along with Bashir and dozens of military and civilian leaders who participated in planning to seize power that year.

Abdel Razek pointed out that NCP leaders are toying with the country's fate, and they make political decisions.

He asserted that the PCP would not be part of any military rule, calling for political pluralism and peaceful power transfer.

NCP official Amin Hassan Omar said that the broad Islamist trend is a consensus between various Islamist forces which have agreed on a "joint work program."

Omar declared that his party was open to anyone who wished to work with others in the Islamist movement, adding that it is continuously developing.

He indicated that the general idea is to reach out to all the Islamists and agree with them, adding that the party will work differently with Sufi orders and the right-wing currents.

A source told Asharq Al-Awsat about a fundamental conflict between Islamist currents, pointing out that NCP's Karti wants to control the Broad Islamic Current.

The source, who preferred not to be named, said a group affiliated with NCP's Hajj turned against him, which he viewed as treason.

The source pointed out that the conflict is old but resurfaced with the emergence of the Broad Islamic Current, adding that NCP and PCP officials are competing for its leadership.

Deputy head of the Reform Now Movement Hassan Rizk said that recent developments could not be referred to as a "struggle" between the NCP and the PCP.

Rizk explains that the disagreements are between those who want to unite Islamist trends and all the components of the Islamist movement and those who reject it.

He asserted that the Islamist movement must unite because "the enemy does not differentiate between NCP or PCP."

Rizk added that the Islamists wanted to unite the Islamist trend, except for the PCP, which was part of NCP and participated in all stages of the establishment of the new Islamist body.

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