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Sudan: Tensions within ruling NCP as protests continue - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Sudanese people living in Egypt shout slogans against Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his government during a protest outside Sudan's embassy in Cairo October 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Sudanese people living in Egypt shout slogans against Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his government during a protest outside Sudan’s embassy in Cairo October 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Tensions within Sudan’s embattled ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have escalated as protests over the government’s controversial austerity measures enter their second week.

The reformist wing of the ruling party announced that it will undertake a comprehensive review of the government’s methods and approach as reports of military officers being arrested emerge.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, senior NCP figure Abdul Ghani Idriss highlighted the escalating tensions within the country’s ruling party, saying that the party let by President Omar Al-Bashir is “ruled by the rifle and the policy of fait accompli as public protests escalate.”

“The NCP is no longer a political party and is not governed by regulations . . . and its institutions are ineffective,” he said, adding: “The party’s legitimacy has ended and it now has no legal or legitimate basis for rule.”

Asked if the NCP’s reformist wing could strengthen their position within the party and seek to overturn the government’s controversial austerity measures, Idriss said: “It is not possible to undertake any reform in the party now, but we are working to carry out an extensive review and are in the process of adopting new approaches and methods.”

Although he refused to elaborate on these new approaches, Idriss told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We agree with the public and the people who took to the streets and the solution is to bring about a democratic transition.”

Idriss said: “The path the Sudanese people have chosen in terms of peaceful protest will lead to a democratic transition.”

Idriss said that reformist elements and leaders within the ruling NCP have called on Khartoum to freeze its controversial economic decisions and respect the constitution by lifting restrictions on freedom of the press.

Earlier this week, 31 senior figures within the NCP signed a memorandum calling for the government’s economic austerity measures to be reviewed.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one signatory told Asharq Al-Awsat that a number of senior figures have threatened to resign from the ruling party in protest against the government’s decisions.

According to the senior NCP official, the ruling party’s Executive Bureau met with the party rebels on Wednesday in a bid to convince them to stop their criticism of Khartoum and discuss their problems within the party’s framework.

The source said the meeting was chaired by Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir.