Sudan opposition to nominate economist Abdalla Hamdok for prime minister

The FFC and the Transitional Military Council are expected to put final signatures on the constitutional declaration on Saturday. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 August 2019

Sudan opposition to nominate economist Abdalla Hamdok for prime minister

  • Sudan's sovereign council, which will be sworn in on Monday, will appoint the prime minister based on the nomination from the opposition alliance, the Forces of Freedom and Change
  • Sudan's military rulers and protest leaders on Saturday are scheduled to sign a landmark deal reached after a bloody uprising which is meant to pave the way for civilian rule

KHARTOUM: Sudan's main opposition alliance will nominate Abdalla Hamdok, an economist who has served in international institutions, to be prime minister in the country's transitional government, opposition sources said on Thursday.
The nomination is the first step towards the creation of a transitional government after the overthrow of long-time president Omar Al-Bashir in April following months of unrest.
The development comes after months of political turmoil as negotiations between the Transitional Military Council, which has ruled Sudan since April, and the opposition alliance, known as the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), dragged on.
A planned new sovereign council must appoint the prime minister based on a nomination from the FFC, according to a constitutional declaration agreed on earlier this month.
The sovereign council will be formed on Sunday, according to the agreed-upon schedule, after which the Transitional Military Council will be dissolved. The appointment of the prime minister is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Hamdok, long rumoured as the FFC's pick, was last working as Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and has held positions at the International Labor Organization and the African Development Bank.
He served as an official in Sudan's Ministry of Finance in the 1980s, before the military coup that put Bashir in power.
The opposition alliance will also nominate former judge and human rights activist Mohamed Alhafiz Mahmoud as public prosecutor, opposition sources said, and Abdelqadir Mohamed Ahmed as head of the judiciary. Their appointment would also be confirmed by the sovereign council after its formation.
The FFC and the Transitional Military Council are expected to put final signatures on the constitutional declaration on Saturday at a ceremony in Khartoum with foreign dignitaries attending.
Some caution it is still too early to tell how events will unfold in the lengthy transition period required to prepare for elections after three decades of autocratic rule under Bashir.
The ceremony will officialise a constitutional declaration inked on August 4 between the country's Transitional Military Council and the opposition coalition of the Alliance for Freedom and Change.
The deal brought an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that saw masses mobilise against the 30-year rule of Omar Al-Bashir, who was eventually ousted in April.
The deal brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia was welcomed with relief by both sides, with protesters celebrating what they saw as the victory of their "revolution" and generals taking credit for averting civil war.
While the compromise meets several of the protest camp's key demands, its terms leave the military with ample powers and its future civilian government with dauting challenges.
With the official signing of the transitional documents on Saturday, Sudan will kick off a process that will include important immediate first steps.
The composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council is due to be announced on Sunday, followed two days later by the naming of a prime minister.
The cabinet is due to be unveiled on August 28, with the newly-appointed ministers due to meet the sovereign council on September 1 for the first time.
Elections must be held after the 39-month transitional period that began on August 4.


Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

Updated 20 September 2020

Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

  • President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases

JEDDAH: The official coronavirus death toll in Iran surged past 24,000 on Saturday as health chiefs admitted 90 percent of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in hospital were dying.

Payam Tabarsi, head of infectious diseases at Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran, said the number of emergency room patients had jumped from 68 a day to 200 in the past week. “People are queuing to be admitted,” he said, and if the trend continued, deaths from coronavirus could reach 600 a day within weeks.

Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Iran was slow to react to the first coronavirus cases in February, and is now battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak. Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.

Analysts both inside and outside Iran are skeptical of the official figures and believe the true level of infections and deaths is far higher. President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases.

“Today, the Health Ministry gave a worrying report,” he said on Saturday. “The public’s observance, which was 82 percent in earlier weeks, has fallen to 62 percent.”

FASTFACTS

  • Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118. •Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June. •551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. •Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’
  • Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.
  • 551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271.
  • Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia daily coronavirus case numbers have fallen to a five-month low after 551 new cases were reported on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. The death toll rose by 28 to 4,458. The last time the Kingdom recorded numbers in the 500s was April 15, when 518 cases were reported.

Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a “second wave” of the pandemic after the first outbreaks early in the year.

European countries from Denmark to Greece have announced new restrictions to curb surging infections in some of their largest cities, and Britain is considering new measures to tackle an “inevitable” second wave of COVID-19.

The UK has reported the fifth-largest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. “We are now seeing a second wave coming in ... it is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

England’s public health chief Yvonne Doyle said: “We’re seeing clear signs this virus is now spreading across all age groups and I am particularly worried by the increase … among older people. This could be a warning of far worse things to come.”