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Sudan Unveils 73-Member National Consensus Government | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (AFP)

Khartoum – The Sudanese presidency unveiled on Thursday a new government, a product of three years of dialogue with opposition parties and armed movements that have signed peace agreements.

The government, which was unveiled after a four-month delay, is composed of two vice presidents, four presidential aides, 31 ministers and 42 ministers of state.

They are expected to be sworn in before President Omar al-Bashir later on Friday. The ruling National Congress party conceded a number of ministries and seven state ministers to the forces taking part in the national dialogue.

Bashir issued presidential decrees, announcing the appointment of the vice presidents, his aides and federal and state ministers, thereby declaring the formation of the new national consensus government. The cabinet is a product of internal national dialogue that has lasted for more than three years and which was called for by Bashir in 2014.

Political powers and armed movements, including the Popular Congress, established by Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, and the Democratic Unionist Party, headed by Mohammed Osman al-Mirghani, had taken part in the national dialogue.

The talks were however boycotted by the main opposition parties, most notably the National Umma Party, and the main armed groups, such as the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North.

The Sudanese parliament also introduced constitutional amendments, changing the name of the government from national unity to national consensus. It also called for creating the position of vice president, the first time since Bashir came to power.

Disputes over the positions and shares in power led to the delay in the announcement of the government and the parties participating in the national dialogue, whose numbers exceed 100, also delayed in presenting the names of their representatives.

The National Congress resorted to its majority in parliament to approve the transitional constitution without diminishing the jurisdiction of the national security agency, which it transformed into a regime force on equal footing with the army and police.

Bashir had previously designated the duties of the government in reforming the state agency, preparing a permanent constitution and arranging the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The formation of the Sudanese government came after the noticeable improvement of Sudan’s ties with the international community, the West in particular, after former US President Barack Obama ordered the partial lifting of sanctions against Sudan.

The sanctions will be completely lifted by July on condition that it commit to the “five courses” plan that covers the war in terror, combat Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, halt the war and establish peace, and contribute to stopping the war in South Sudan and allow humanitarian aid to reach conflict zones.

The formation of the new government is part of the steps that will lead to the complete lifting of sanctions.