Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court, has been nominated for re-election by his ruling National Congress Party.
The 70-year-old Bashir has been in power for 25 years.
Two Sudanese opposition parties last week said they were combining their efforts to change the political system from totalitarianism to real democracy and to one that respects the rights of all Sudanese.
Information Minister Ahmed Bilal said Bashir’s re-election next year would make all parties feel at ease to participate in the so-called national dialogue that Bashir has promoted.
“Especially in this time when we are looking to a national dialogue and its initiative, which calls for all Sudanese to sit down at a round table to find a roadmap for [a] solution of all our problems, and everybody is optimistic about that. So, I think for the outcome of this national dialogue, if he’s the president, everybody will feel satisfied that we will all be on one note,” he said.
Mariam al-Sadig al-Mahdi, the first woman vice president of the opposition Uma Party, told VOA such a dialogue is not possible in the midst of repression.
Bilal said Bashir’s re-election nomination was done fairly because he was chosen from among five other candidates.
The opposition Popular Congress Party has already said it will not participate in the 2015 election because it believes the election will not be fair.
Bilal said Sudanese opposition parties don’t have broad-based support among the people.
“Actually, most of the opposition parties have no actual popular support and, after 10 years, they will not have it. But, in the national dialogue, we can reach a consensus that we can postpone the elections for one year [or] two years,” he said.
He denied that Bashir is seeking re-election to stave off the ICC arrest warrant.
“This is not true. The ICC is not one of the causes that are linked to his office. As Sudanese, we believe the president remaining in office for this period is very crucial, not because of the ICC. Most of those who have had [a] relationship with Sudan, they think his presence can make a guarantee that we can reach a consensus easily if he is in office than if he were out of the office,” Bilal said.
Bilal admits Sudan has an economic crisis, but he said a bad economy, especially in these times, is not limited to his country.
“Sudan is not the only country having economic problems. It’s almost all over the world, even America suffers from that. In Sudan, after separation of the South, we suffered a lot because 80 percent of our economy went with the separation of the South,” Bilal said.
Bilal denied Khartoum is planning on giving military assistance to South Sudanese rebels.
“This accusation is not true. It is not in our actual benefit to support any side for the continuation of the war. We have suffered a lot from the spillover of wars,” he said.
Bilal said a stable South Sudan serves the interests of both Juba and Khartoum. He said that contrary to the allegations, Khartoum is playing the role of a peacemaker.
He said South Sudanese President Salva Kiir will travel to Khartoum next month on a peace mission.