President hints at greater inclusiveness in speech that disappoints
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir delivered a speech to a wide gathering of government, opposition party, diplomats and civic leaders yesterday in which he outlined the details of the National Reform document.
The president, who has ruled Sudan since 1989 following a bloodless coup d’état, has indicated that he will stand down next year allowing presidential elections to take place. However, his speech was considered to be disappointing by opposition leaders who had been expecting an announcement about a more inclusive government.
The president did acknowledge the need for liberalisation of political work and greater participation. He pointed out that economic development could only happen if there was peace. He announced the establishment of a new department of economic planning within the Ministry of Finance, a strengthened Central Bank, a national council for revenues and a new formula for the granting of federal resources.
The press release as published on the presidential website is as follows:
“28-January-2014: President Al-Bashir Declares Political Reform Plan in Presence of Various Government Officials and Opposition Leaders
President of the Republic and Chairman of the National Congress, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Monday evening declared, through his address to the Sudanese nation the National Reform Document of the National Congress which worked out by specialized committees at the party.
The gathering at the Friendship Hall was attended prominent leaders of the opposition parties, including the leader of the National Umma Party, Al-Saddiq Al-Mahdi, and the leader of the People||s Congress, Dr. Hassan Abdalla Al-Turabi, the leader of Reform Now Party, Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin, besides the representative of the Democratic Unionist Party (Origin) and Assistant of the President of the Republic, Jaafar Al-Saddiq Al-Mighani, Mohamed Al-Hassan Osman Al-Mirghani, the Assistant of the President of the Republic and leader of East Sudan Front, Musa Mohamed Ahmed.
The meeting was also attended by the representative of the People’s Movement, Daniel Kodi, leader of the Sudanese Democratic Party, Munir Shekh-Eddin, the Secretary General of the Islamic Movement, Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Hassan, along with a big number of the ambassadors of the sister and friendly countries, representatives of the political forces, leaders of the Women, Youth and Students Unions.
Meanwhile, the reform document presented by President Al-Bashir included principles and guidelines for the political work in the coming stage, as well as the directives for combating the challenges of poverty, peace and comprehensive development.
The initiative for reform included the importance of focusing on realization of economic development, exploitation of Sudan resources, the issue of the Sudanese identity, launching a broad-based dialogue between all the political forces and discarding to the political and thought extremism.”