Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 February 2020

How Sudan's people changed the country's course

Key events leading to the start of a transition from authoritarian rule to democracy

Sudanese wave the national flag in Khartoum on August 17, 2019 as they celebrate the signing of a deal that puts the country on a path democratic rule. Reuters
Sudanese wave the national flag in Khartoum on August 17, 2019 as they celebrate the signing of a deal that puts the country on a path democratic rule. Reuters

Within a span of eight months, Sudan moved from decades-long authoritarian rule under former general Omar Al Bashir to taking the first steps towards a freely elected democratic government. Here are the key dates in the momentous transition:

December 19, 2018: Protests break out in the city of Atbara against the government's decision to triple bread prices. They quickly spread to other parts of the country and, led by a group called the Sudanese Professionals Association, transformed into calls for President Al Bashir to step down.

April 6, 2019: After months of demonstrations in which scores of protesters were killed by security forces, thousands gather outside the army headquarters in Khartoum to plead for the military's support.

April 11: The military removes Mr Al Bashir from power and announces that a 10-member transitional military council will govern for two years. Council chief Gen Awad Ibn Auf steps down the following day as protesters remain outside the army headquarters to demand civilian rule. He is replaced by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, who promises talks with protest leaders on a transition to a civilian government.

April 21: UAE and Saudi Arabia announce $3 billion in aid to support Sudan's ailing economy.

May 26-27: Gen Al Burhan and his deputy, Gen Mohamed Dagalo, visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE amid a stalemate in talks with protesters over the make-up of a joint transitional government to run the country for three years.

May 28-29: Two-day strike observed across Sudan to press demand for civilian leadership and majority membership in a proposed sovereign council to oversee transitional period.

June 3: Scores of civilians killed as armed men in military fatigues break up the protest camp outside army headquarters. The military scraps transition agreements with protest leaders and calls for elections within nine months.

June 7: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrives in Khartoum to begin mediation efforts as Arab League chief issues call for two sides to work towards peaceful transition

June 9: Protest leaders launch a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience that paralyses the country for two days. After both sides signal they are ready to talk again, Ethiopia and African Union mediators in late June present new proposals for a transition.

June 30: Tens of thousands of protesters again rally. Security forces are deployed en masse and police fire tear gas at crowds. Several people are killed.

July 5: After two days of negotiations, military and civilian leaders agree to have rotating presidency of the sovereign council and an independent technocratic government during transition period.

July 17: Both sides sign political deal formally outlining power-sharing deal in the presence of African mediators.

July 29: Negotiations on a final "constitutional declaration" are briefly suspended after six demonstrators, including four school students, are shot dead at a rally in Al Obeid.

August 4: Military and protest leaders sign agreement on a sovereign council comprising six civilians and five military figures that will govern for a 39-month transition period. Council will be led by a military figure for first 21 months, and then by a civilian.

August 17: Both sides formally sign the constitutional declaration.

August 21: All but one of the sovereign council members are sworn in, with Gen Al Burhan as its head. Hours later, the economist Abdalla Hamdok takes oath as prime minister.


Updated: August 22, 2019 04:23 PM



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