Sudan’s PM quits following deadly demonstrations as country’s political gridlock continues

Sudan‘s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has resigned following widespread pro-democracy protests in the past few days against last year’s military coup.

Hamdok, a former UN official seen as the civilian face of Sudan‘s transitional government, had been reinstated as prime minister in November as part of an agreement with the military following the October coup. In that time he had failed to name a Cabinet and his resignation throws Sudan into political uncertainty amid uphill security and economic challenges.

In a televised national address on Sunday, Hamdok called for a dialogue to agree on a “national charter” and to “draw a roadmap” to complete the transition to democracy in accordance with the 2019 constitutional document governing the transitional period.

“I decided to return the responsibility and declare my resignation as prime minister,” he said, adding that his stepping down would allow a chance for another person to lead the nation and complete its transition to a “civilian, democratic country”.

He did not name a successor.

The prime minister said his efforts to bridge the widening gap and settle disputes among the political forces have failed.

He warned that the ongoing political stalemate since the military takeover could become a full-blown crisis and damage the country’s already battered economy.

“I tried as much as I possibly could to prevent our country from sliding into a disaster. Now, our nation is going through a dangerous turning point that could threaten its survival unless it is urgently rectified,” he said.

The October coup had upended Sudan‘s plans to move to democracy after a popular uprising forced the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

Four months after, the generals and the protesters reached a power-sharing deal to rule the country through elections in 2023.

However, military-civilian ties have been frayed by the military takeover that has threatened to return Sudan to international isolation.

Hamdok’s resignation comes amid a heavy security crackdown on protesters denouncing not only the takeover but the subsequent deal that reinstated him and sidelined the pro-democracy movement.

Over the past two weeks, there was increasing speculation that he would step down. National and international efforts have failed to convince him to stay in office. The US State Department urged Sudan‘s leaders to “set aside differences, find consensus, and ensure continued civilian rule” following Hamdok’s resignation.

Hours before Hamdok’s resignation speech, Sudanese security forces violently dispersed pro-democracy protesters, killing at least three people, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement.

Internet connections were also disrupted ahead of the protests, according to advocacy group NetBlocs.


Douglas Mateo

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