Sudan’s protesters claim victory for ‘revolution’ with power sharing deal
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Sudan’s protesters claim victory for ‘revolution’ with power sharing deal

Blueprint proposes a three-year transition period, with the presidency of the new ruling body to be held by the military for the first 18 months and a civilian for the second

Sudanese protesters celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body on July 5, 2019. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)
Sudanese protesters celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body on July 5, 2019. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

Leaders of Sudan’s pro-democracy movement, which drove longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir from power in April, on Friday welcomed a power-sharing agreement with the ruling military council as a victory for their “revolution.”

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded protests calling for civilian rule, released a statement saying that both parties had agreed to form a joint sovereign council to lead the country’s transition.

It said the council will include five civilians representing the protest movement and five military members. An eleventh seat will go to a civilian chosen by both parties.

Of the agreement, the statement said: “Today, our revolution has won and our victory shines.”

Sudanese protesters celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body on July 5, 2019. (Ashraf Shazly/ AFP)

Sudan has been rocked by a political crisis since the army ousted longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April on the back of widespread protests, with the generals who seized power resisting demonstrators’ demands to hand it over to a civilian administration.

Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir is escorted into a vehicle as he returns to prison following his appearance before prosecutors over charges of corruption and illegal possession of foreign currency, in Khartoum the capital of Sudan on Sunday June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Hjaj)

“We want to reassure all political forces and armed movements and all those who took part in the change… that this agreement is all inclusive and does not exclude anyone,” deputy chief of the ruling military council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said in a statement.

Tension between the two sides had further soared after a brutal raid on a longstanding protest camp outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum that killed dozens of demonstrators and wounded hundreds on June 3.

The latest round of talks had resumed Wednesday after intense mediation by Ethiopian and African Union envoys, who had put forward a draft proposal to break the weeks-long deadlock.

‘Independent investigation’ into raid

The blueprint proposes a three-year transition period, with the president of the new ruling body to be held by the military for the first 18 months and a civilian for the second.

However, it was still unclear if both sides had signed off on the military holding the post first.

African Union mediator Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, however, said the two sides had agreed to postpone the forming of a new transitional parliament.

Sudanese protesters celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body on July 5, 2019. (Ashraf Shazly/ AFP)

Before talks collapsed in May the generals and protest leaders had agreed on forming a 300-member parliament, with two-third of lawmakers to be from the protest movement.

Lebatt said that both sides have now also “agreed to have a detailed, transparent, national, independent investigation into all the regrettable violent incidents that the country faced in recent weeks,” including the June 3 raid.

At least 136 people have been killed across the country since the raid, including more than 100 on June 3, according to doctors close to the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

Military forces secure the area outside while Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir is questioned at the prosecutor’s office over charges of corruption and illegal possession of foreign currency, in Khartoum the capital of Sudan Sunday June 16, 2019.(AP Photo/Mahmoud Hjaj)

The health ministry says 78 people have been killed nationwide over the same period.

That raid was carried out by men in military fatigues.

The ruling military council insists it did not order the violent dispersal of the sit-in.

For weeks the issue of forming the new ruling body has rocked Sudan, extending the political crisis triggered by the fall of Bashir.

Prior to the start of the latest round of talks on Wednesday, Ethiopian mediator Mahmoud Drir had said that the thorny issue of the new governing body was “the sole point of disagreement” between the two parties.

Students march for civilian rule

Protest leaders have exerted pressure on the generals since the June 3 raid on the mass sit-in.

On Sunday, protest leaders managed to mobilize tens of thousands of supporters in the first mass protest against the generals since the raid.

Sudanese protesters chant slogans demanding civilian rule on June 30, 2019 during a rally in Khartoum’s southern al-Sahafa district. (AFP)

The mass rally had been seen as a test for the protest leaders’ ability to mobilize crowds after the generals imposed a widespread internet blackout and deployed security forces in the capital’s key squares and districts, its twin city Omdurman and other towns and villages.

On Thursday hundreds of students from several schools in three towns — Madani, Gadaref and Sinnar — staged spontaneous protests chanting “civilian rule, civilian rule,” witnesses said.

Earlier on Thursday a group of 235 fighters from a faction of a Darfur rebel group that is part of the protest movement were released as decided during the talks.

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