GP Insights # 104, 20 July 2019
On 17 July 2019 Sudan's pro-democracy movement and the ruling military council signed a power-sharing agreement. The ceremony was held in the capital, Khartoum. This marks the end of protests and negotiations that have been going on for more than three months. Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan was a signatory for the military to the power-sharing deal.
The deal lays down that there would be joint civilian-military sovereign council which would govern Sudan during the three- year transition period. The council will be made up of 11 members, five civilians, five from the military, and one person will be chosen by the council. The military will head the council for the first 21 months after which the civilian leader will lead for the remaining 18 months. They have also agreed for a cabinet in which the civilians will choose the prime minister and two other posts of defence, and the military will nominate interior minister. Further, the deal also promises an investigation into all the violence that has taken place.
What is the background?
Sudan has gone through several struggles to reach this deal. The unrest can be traced back to when President Al Bashir's government imposed emergency austerity measures which cause the beginning of the uprising, leading to him being ousted by the military. However, the demonstrators demanded that power be transferred to the civilians. Since then, the military and civilians have clashed many times, causing many deaths and turbulence in the country. The military and civilian representative met to discuss in June. However, no consensus was reached, which is when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed flew to Sudan to help mediate a new agreement between the two sides. It was only after a few days of talks that his special envoy, Mahmoud Dirir stated that protest leaders had agreed to suspend their strikes and return to the negotiating with the military, after which two sides reached a new power-sharing agreement on 5 July 2019.
What does it mean?
This deal is a step towards civilian rule for Sudan. After months of disrupted talks, the coming together of the two sides to sign such an agreement is noteworthy by itself. On paper, this means that in three years, there will be a fully established civilian administration in Sudan. Even though the agreement fails to mention finer details of how the power is to be shared and various other elements, it is a well enough foundation for the two sides to build upon. Sudan is a country that is familiar with transitions; they have witnessed three transitions in the last six decades. Thus this is a process they are familiar with, and the only difference now is that if things go as planned, Sudan will see democracy at the end of this