Sudan’s uncertain course after Hamdok’s resignation

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CAIRO – Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has said he is stepping down from his post amid the political stalemate following the military coup that disrupted the country’s fragile transition to democracy.

Hamdok, representative of the civil movement, made the announcement on January 3 in a speech broadcast by Sudanese television.

“I had the honor of serving my compatriots for over two years. During this period, I sometimes did well and sometimes failed, ”he said. “I have decided to give you back what you have entrusted to me and I am announcing my resignation from the post of Prime Minister.”

Hamdok warned that the major crisis in Sudan, which is predominantly political, “is on the verge of becoming a global crisis,” stressing that the division between the civilian and military components is reflected in the performance of the Sudanese state and urging dialogue as a solution.

Addressing the military, Hamdok said, “The people are the final sovereign authority.”

Muhammad al-Orabi, former Egyptian foreign minister and member of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations, said: “Sudanese political forces must quickly unify their demands to safeguard the supreme interests of the country. The perpetuation of the political division exacerbates political, economic and social crises, in light of the continuing, albeit peaceful, mass protests. “

Orabi assured Al-Monitor that only the Sudanese people should decide their fate. “Experience has shown that the will of the people must be accomplished. Hamdok’s resignation will not affect the political scene much, as his reinstatement after the events of October 25, 2021 was rejected by a large section of the Sudanese people. This is why a cabinet which has the support of the street must be formed as soon as possible.

Hamdok’s resignation comes amid political tensions in Khartoum, after several rallies in all parts of Sudan, rejecting the political agreement reached on November 21, 2021 between him and General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the current head of the Council Sudan’s sovereignty and de facto rule.

Hussein Haridi, Egyptian ambassador and former deputy foreign minister, told Al-Monitor that Hamdok’s resignation “reflects the lack of political and national consensus on how to move forward. … The resignation has not changed much the main circumstances of the political scene in Sudan, especially since the political decision is still in the hands of Burhan.

There is no easy way out, he said, because “maintaining the regime with a military component has become unacceptable. The Sudanese street expressed its will to apply the civilian regime and the partnership between the civilian and military components turned out to be a failure. is important to give in to the wishes of the Sudanese street.

Haridi warned: “The situation could escalate into armed conflict and civil war, especially as dozens of civilian protesters have been killed. He argued that Hamdok had decided to resign because he did not want to become a partner in the killing of protesters.

Musab al-Hadi, Sudanese journalist for Al-Nokhba magazine, confirmed: “The worsening crises in Sudan, whether in eastern Sudan or elsewhere, as well as the deterioration of economic conditions, the inability to achieve to a political consensus on the political agreement, and the daily killing of protesters prompted Hamdok to resign.

Meanwhile, the resistance committee coordination offices in Sudan announced that they were working on a new political charter, saying they had made great strides in reaching consensus on some outstanding issues. For their part, the United States and the European Union renewed their support for the democratic transition in Khartoum.

Speaking to Al-Monitor, Hadi said: “The Sudanese people, after Hamdok leaves, will not stop calling for full civilian rule. He now refuses any representation of the military component as a partner in power. Hamdok’s resignation will confuse the military component, especially since it is difficult to find an alternative to Hamdok with the same popularity. The resignation will further strengthen the will of the Sudanese street to get rid of the military regime and establish a full civilian regime.

Within hours of Hamdok’s resignation, names of potential replacements began to circulate, including former finance minister Ibrahim Al-Badawi, who demanded a national consensus to accept the post. Sudan’s ambassador to Washington, Noureddin Sati, was also suggested.

Ambassador Salah Halima, vice-president of the Egyptian Council for African Affairs, called for a constructive dialogue between the different political forces without excluding the military component. “It is in the interest of Sudan to exclude any faction, because a partnership between the two components is in the best interest of the country,” he told Al-Monitor.

“The Sudanese people must realize that the deteriorating security and political situation in some unstable regions, such as eastern Sudan, South Kordofan and Darfur, prompted Burhan to take military control on the 25th. October 2021, ”continued Halima. “Hamdok’s resignation could have a double effect. It could lead to a breakthrough, because it was in line with the will of the forces to reject the political agreement. But, on the other hand, it can further complicate matters by creating a political vacuum and challenging the military component to find a popular alternative to Hamdok.

Halima called for a dialogue that would lead to an agreement meeting the aspirations of most political forces. He said: “Those who demand the departure of the military component can set conditions in the concluded agreement preventing symbols of the military component from standing in the upcoming elections. This will ensure a post-transition period without regular military figures. This is the solution to break the deadlock.

In a tweet, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Sudanese stakeholders to engage in an immediate Sudanese-led dialogue facilitated by the international community. “Security forces must stop using lethal force against protesters and engage in an independent investigation,” he said.

Amani al-Tawil, an African affairs expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, argued that Hamdok’s resignation is not in the best interests of the military.

“The military component will now have to face the population and the political forces without the support of the civilian component. Hamdok’s departure will also disrupt all international programs dedicated to economic support for Sudan, ”she told Al-Monitor.

Tawil stressed the need to address the crisis for fear that military operations will take over state functions, especially in conflict-torn regions such as eastern Sudan and southern Kordofan. “Hamdok committed political suicide when he returned to his post in November 2021 under the political agreement,” she concluded.

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