Sudan PM reinstated a month after coup

Freed from house arrest, Abdalla Hamdok signs deal with military to restore transition to civilian rule

November 21, 2021 11:43 am | Updated 11:03 pm IST - KHARTOUM

Abdalla Hamdok. File Image.

Abdalla Hamdok. File Image.

Nearly a month after Sudan’s top General ousted the Prime Minister, they signed a breakthrough deal on Sunday to reverse the military takeover that had sparked international condemnation and mass protests.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan appeared at the presidential palace in Khartoum for a televised ceremony with a haggard looking premier Abdalla Hamdok, who had just been freed from house arrest.

The 14-point deal restores the transition to civilian rule that had been derailed by the October 25 putsch, which threw the poverty-stricken northeast African country into renewed turmoil and set off a wave of street protests.

The agreement, which comes after weeks of crisis talks involving Sudanese and outside players, declared that “the decision of the general commander of the armed forces to relieve the transitional Prime Minister is cancelled” and to release all political detainees.

It raised hopes that Sudan will be able to return to its fragile transition process toward full democracy that started after the 2019 ouster of veteran autocratic president Omar al-Bashir. Despite the breakthrough, thousands of protesters again rallied in several cities, met by security forces who fired teargas in the capital — the latest of a series of protests that, medics say, have claimed 40 lives.

A frail looking Mr. Hamdok was seen on air extolling the virtues of the “revolution” that brought him to power in 2019.

Standing beside him, General Burhan thanked Mr. Hamdok for his service and vowed that “free and transparent elections” would be held as part of the transitional process.

Mr. Burhan had on October 25 declared a state of emergency in the country and ousted Mr. Hamdok’s government in a move that upended the two-year transition to civilian rule and sparked international condemnation.

But after weeks of intense internal and international pressure, mediators on Sunday morning announced that the military had reached an agreement to reinstate Mr. Hamdok as premier.

Opposition rejects deal

However, the main civilian bloc which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests and signed a 2019 power-sharing deal with the military rejected Sunday’s agreement.

“We affirm our clear and previously declared position that there is no negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy for the coup,” said the mainstream faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change in a statement.

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