Sudan Crisis: Military And Opposition Agree 3-Year Transition

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Sudanese Army, Lt Gen Salah Abdelkhalek

Sudan’s military leaders have announced an agreement with the opposition alliance for a three-year transition period to a civilian administration.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) said the alliance would have two-thirds of the seats on a legislative council.

However, the two sides are yet to agree on a sovereign council – the top tier of power, where both want a majority.

Sudan has been ruled by the military council since last month’s toppling of President Omar al-Bashir.

Protests that led to his downfall have continued, with a huge sit-in outside the military headquarters to demand full civilian government.

Hours before the latest deal was announced, at least five protesters and a member of the security forces died in clashes in the capital, Khartoum.
At a joint news conference on Monday night, Lt Gen Yasser al-Atta said a final agreement on power sharing would be signed with the opposition alliance – the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) – within 24 hours. That would include the forming of a sovereign council which will rule the country until elections.

“We vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in a way that meets the people’s aspirations,” he said.

Gen Atta said the DFCF would have two-thirds of the seats on a 300-member transitional legislative council, while the rest would be taken by parties not members of the alliance.

Earlier, protest movement spokesman Taha Osman said the sides had agreed on the structure of future authorities – a sovereign council, a cabinet and a legislative body.

DFCF member Satea al-Hajj expressed optimism that the final details on power-sharing would be agreed, adding: “The viewpoints are close and, God willing, we will reach an agreement soon.”

The military had originally wanted a two-year transition period while protest leaders had sought four years to give them more time to prepare.

However, Sadiq Yousuf, a member of the DFCF negotiating team said that the composition of the 11-member supreme council was still being discussed.

“The issue has been on the number of members of the supreme council. We want eight civilians, three from the military, but they want seven military and four members.”

The agreement for a three-year transitional administration including a parliament dominated by opposition groups is a major step towards civilian rule.

A cabinet will also be appointed by the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces.

But the question of who will be ultimately in charge remains unanswered.

A council of generals is currently the top tier of control.

Who will be on the new executive body to replace it has been a sticking point for some time.

Both the military and the opposition groups want not just representation, but a majority.

The joint news conference by those involved in talks said this would be settled within 24 hours, but protesters remain on the streets until they are sure real and lasting change will come with the new transitional agreement.

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