Sudan’s Burhan promises to return to democracy by 2023

The general behind last month’s coup in Sudan said he was committed to holding elections and handing power back to the civilian population, following mass protests and widespread international condemnation of the takeover. military.

“We are definitely committed to holding elections in 2023,” Abdel Fattah Burhan, told the Financial Times in his office at the presidential palace in Khartoum, in his first interview with Western media since the army is in power on October 25.

On Sunday, Sudan’s military and civilian leaders agreed to a deal that would allow the return of the economist and former United Nations official. Abdalla Hamdok as prime minister. The coup, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir and his Muslim government, has shaked the land’s fragile transition to democracy. water.

Since the overthrow of Bashir in 2019, the country has been ruled by a joint military and civilian council, chaired by Burhan. He plans to hand over the presidency to Hamdok this month, but will remain chairman for now. Burhan, who is barred from elections under the 2019 transitional agreement, has said he will leave politics in 2023. “After that, I will leave and mind my business. only me. I will also leave the armed forces,” he said.

Sunday’s agreement with Hamdok allows for “an independent technocratic government free of politicians and focused on essential issues of the transition period – the economy, elections, peace and security, ‘ said Burhan. Hamdok said he had agreed to a deal to end the “bloodbath” in recent weeks in which Sudanese doctors said dozens of people were killed, but critics say politicians civilians gave in to the army.

Burhan said he was “in contact with Hamdok daily” after the army locked the prime minister in his house for weeks “to protect him from any harm, because some political actors don’t want the transition.” This is a success”.

The Army General took over.

“We think the country is entering a unknown,” said Burhan, referring to Sudan’s economic and political crisis. Khartoum, grappling with runaway inflation, a falling currency and fuel shortages, negotiated a $56 billion bailout of foreign debt. After Sunday’s deal, Burhan said “we hope everything goes well” with donors and creditors. The World Bank and the United States froze funds shortly after the coup.

“This is not a coup. He said, re-aligning the path of the transition, getting it on track, and blaming “political parties that have infiltrated government organs of the state for their own gain.” , that’s the problem”.

Sudanese people protest against military coup in Khartoum

People in Khartoum protest against the coup. A committee of Sudanese doctors says more than 40 people have been killed by security forces during the protests © EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Civilian members of the deposed administration disagreed. “He staged a coup to preserve his presidency in the sovereign council and he accused political parties, whose natural role is to rule or attempt to rule, of seeking profit. useful. He is playing a dangerous game or Russian roulette,” said a former senior civilian government official, adding that “civilians should have military supervision, not military supervision.” must be the opposite”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke with Burhan and Hamdok on Tuesday and “expressed support for the initial steps to restore Sudan’s democratic transition” but “emphasized” the necessary to “rebuild” the trust of the Sudanese people.

However, the deal may not end the protests welcoming the coup. A large rally is planned for Thursday. At least 41 people were killed by security forces during these protests, according to a committee of Sudanese doctors.

Official figures show only 10 deaths, Burhan said, placing his hand over a brochure of a “preliminary investigation” from the attorney general. He vowed that those responsible would be prosecuted. The victims were “not” killed by the military or the Rapid Support Force, a militia led by his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, but, possibly, he said, by some elements of the police and “armed” people with connections to political parties.

“Those are not political parties,” said Mariam al-Mahdi, one of the leaders of the Umma National Party and a former minister under Hamdok. Fathi Fadl, a spokesman for the Sudanese Communist Party, called Burhan the “leader of the coup” and rejected the deal, calling it a “betrayal of the Sudanese people”. To Mahdi: “What happened was a coup, there are no words other than coup to describe it.”

“The path is now clear,” said Burhan, referring to a transition to a democratic, democratic government after the promised election. “This is not a coup. We have a civilian government, it cannot be a coup,” he said.

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