Sudan awaits new cabinet as premier mulls line-up

The transitional council is expected to steer the country through a three-year transition to civilian rule. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 August 2019

Sudan awaits new cabinet as premier mulls line-up

  • The new PM was supposed to pick the nominees for the cabinet on Wednesday
  • A source reports that he still hasn’t made any final decisions

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s new prime minister was Thursday locked in talks to form the first cabinet since the ouster of veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir, in another step in its transition from decades of autocratic rule.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had been due to name his key picks on Wednesday, following last week’s swearing in of a joint civilian-military sovereign council.
The council is due to steer the country through a three-year transition to civilian rule.
On Thursday a source close to Hamdok said the prime minister was still considering nominees for the cabinet.
“Deliberations are still underway and it is not clear when they will end,” the source told AFP.
Hamdok, who took the oath last week, was set to make his selection from a field put forward by the Forces for Freedom Change — an umbrella group that led months-long protests against Bashir and then pushed the generals who deposed him in April to share power.
On Tuesday, Hamdok confirmed that he had received the FFC’s list of candidates including 49 nominees for 14 ministries.
The FFC and the generals signed a power-sharing deal earlier in August outlining Sudan’s transitional structures.
Under the deal, the cabinet should be largely selected by the premier.
Only the interior and defense ministers will be chosen by the military members of Sudan’s ruling body.
On Saturday, Hamdok told a local television channel that he would select technocrats based on their “competence.”
The delay however raised concerns among some in Sudan.
“It is not good... the country has been without a government for almost five months now,” said 48-year-old Hassan Abdelmeguid, who is a government employee.
“Sudan is facing a great deal of challenges and require quick formation of a government,” he added.
Sudan’s economy was dealt devastating blows by two decades of US sanctions, which were only lifted in 2017, and the 2011 secession of the oil-rich south.
Spiralling inflation and acute hardship were the main triggers for the anti-Bashir protests that erupted in December.
Much-needed foreign investment remains hampered by Sudan’s designation by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Hamdok said he is holding talks with US officials to remove Sudan from Washington’s blacklist.
Another challenge is forging peace with rebel groups in the country’s far-flung regions within six months.
Rebel groups from marginalized regions including Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan state waged long wars against Bashir’s government forces.
The three conflicts have left hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions displaced.
And though the conflict in Darfur which erupted in 2003 has subsided over the years, rebels in other areas remain active.
Wednesday’s delay was not the first challenge facing the country’s transition to civilian rule.
The line-up of Sudan’s 11-member sovereign council was held up for two days over differences within the opposition camp before it was finally announced on August 21.
According to the roadmap toward transition, the new government and the sovereign council are expected to meet for the first time on September 1 but it is now unclear if that date will be kept.
Government employee Sanya Mohamed said the delays may be for good reasons.
“If they serve the purpose of bringing in competent people, then it is alright,” the 33-year-old said.
“But if it was due to disagreements over the candidates then the delay would be worrying. The country can not take it.”


Arabs reject religion’s role in politics

Updated 09 December 2019

Arabs reject religion’s role in politics

  • Appeal of militant groups such as the Al Qaidam Daesh, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and Taliban are in decline, poll suggests
  • The YouGov survey was commissioned by Arab News in partnership with the Arab Strategy Forum, which takes place today in Dubai

DUBAI: Militant groups in the Arab world face a gradual decline and most Arabs oppose the use of religion for political gain, a new survey suggests.

The appeal of extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the Taliban is likely to fade over the next 10 years, researchers found.

The survey indicates that most Arabs view corruption as the main problem in their home country and the leading cause of conflict in the Arab world.

 

Daesh (Islamic State) fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, at the height of their power in 2014. (AP file photo)

Researchers also found overwhelming approval for developments in female empowerment such as Saudi women driving and a new inheritance law in Tunisia, and most Arabs expect further progress in their own countries in the next 10 years.

The survey’s findings on political Islam were “good news” for the region, said political science professor Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla. The Middle East had had enough of extremism and Arabs realized that political groups based on religion were “taking them nowhere,” Abdulla told Arab News.

“Indeed, we have seen the ugly face of it during the four to five years of Daesh’s control of large areas in Syria and Iraq. So it is natural to see there is a decline in the popularity of these parties. But much more important are the predictions that support for religious parties, whether moderate or extremist, is in sharp decline.

Opinion

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“People are becoming aware that there has been some kind of abuse and overuse of people’s emotions for political gains by these religious movements. The foremost is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is going through its worst moment.”

The YouGov survey was commissioned by Arab News in partnership with the Arab Strategy Forum, which takes place today in Dubai. The 12th annual event will explore events and trends expected over the next 10 years, with 18 key speakers including former ministers, government officials, industry experts, international strategists, writers and media professionals. 

 

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