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Sudan: A Split within Sudan’s National Congress Party Shaping Up | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Informed sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that there is a trend led by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to appoint a personality from Darfur as a Vice-President, one who has links with the Popular Congress Party headed by his rival Dr Hasan al-Turabi.

The sources said that Al-Bashir now has three names of PCP members in the Darfur region but that the expected changes will not be undertaken through the Third General Congress of the [ruling]National Congress Party [NCP] headed by Al-Bashir which began its sessions on Thursday but will come at a later time, after the conference ends. The sources spoke of a memorandum signed by a substantial number of leaders from Al-Bashir’s party demanding an end to what they call hegemony by the security group on the party.

For his part, PCP Assistant Secretary-General Dr Ali al-Hadj, in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, did not rule out the possibility that Al-Bashir would undertake a reshuffle because of the conflict going on between him and his Vice-President Ali Othman Muhammad Taha. He said that Al-Bashir might choose a Vice-President to replace Taha or that Taha might continue in his post with another Vice-President. “We heard that the Vice-President will be from Darfur and would be affiliated to the PCP, and that personalities have been nominated but the idea did not succeed because there is no peace agreement in the Province,” he said. He said that it would be meaningless to appoint any person at the present time, whether from the PCP or any other party, adding that the position would be a puppet as is happening now with the positions of advisers to Al-Bashir. He said that the information he had from inside the NCP says that Al-Bashir has a strong tendency to make a reshuffle because the splits inside his party are widening despite attempts to hide them by some NCP leaders. He said that the decisions of the General Congress might be issued today in a normal way but that the reshuffle would be carried out at a later time. “The split will not happen now from inside this conference that is in progress but will appear later,” he said. “It is only a matter of time.”

Al-Hadj denied that there is a trend in favor of unity for the Islamic movement and bring the NCP and PCP together after their split in 1999. He said that Sudan with all its entities, hues, and political diversity is wider and better than returning to an Islamic movement that has become part of history. He said the NCP and the government cannot claim now that they represent the Islamic movement and that no new Islamic movement will emerge to rule Sudan.

Meanwhile informed sources in the NCP told Asharq Al-Awsat that the differences brewing inside the ruling NCP on the party’s basic statutes indicate there is strong rivalry between two currents inside the party. The first seeks to “empower” Al-Bashir’s presence in the party and the other seeks to separate the portfolio of the party’s chief on all central and provincial levels on the one hand and the position of the President of the Republic or Provincial Governor on the other hand. The sources did not exclude the possibility that what is going on represents a competition between the supporters of President Omar al-Bashir in the ruling regime and those who support his Vice-President Ali Othman Muhammad Taha. They strongly discarded the possibility that this struggle would go beyond the boundaries of the party or the rules of legitimate rivalry in political organizations.

Differences inside the party on its basic statutes were the factor that led to the conflicts between President Omar al-Bashir and Dr Hasan al-Turabi, the godfather of the “Ingaz” [Al-Bashir’s “Salvation” regime]. This was known as the “Al-Bashir-Al-Turabi” struggle or the struggle between “the Palace and Al-Manchiyyah”, a reference to the location of Al-Bashir’s office in the Republican Palace and the house of Al-Turabi in the suburb of Al-Manchiyyah, eastern Khartoum. The struggle ended with Al-Bashir excluding Al-Turabi, who was Parliamentary Speaker at the time, from all his partisan and official positions. This forced him to form an opposition party, the PCP. The sources said that those who call for separating the position of the head of the party from that of the President of the Republic and the Governors of the Provinces maintain that there are provinces that have Governors who are not from the NCP.