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Sudan’s Ruling Party Rejects Post-Referendum Rotating Presidency

  • Peter Clottey

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir (R) walks with Sudan's First Vice President and south Sudan leader Salva Kiir at the airport in Khartoum, as he prepares to leave for Chad, 21 Jul 2010

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir (R) walks with Sudan's First Vice President and south Sudan leader Salva Kiir at the airport in Khartoum, as he prepares to leave for Chad, 21 Jul 2010

A prominent member of Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) has rejected reports that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is demanding that Sudan’s presidency be rotated between the north and south, as a precondition to accepting the country’s “unity instead of secession.”

Rabie Abdelati Obeid told VOA the SPLM’S demand is contrary to stipulations of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the north and south.

“He also said that, if the north wants unity, the SPLM and the NCP should work together not to adopt the Islamic laws. This is an offer which is not considered to come from the SPLM’s leader because we only have one channel. Either such offer should come from Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is the chairman (of SPLM), or through the presidential institution.”

In a speech last week, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said that, if the south breaks away, his government will change the constitution and that, in his words, there will be no question of cultural or ethnic diversity. He said Sharia, or Islamic law, will be the main source for the constitution and that Arabic will be the official language.

Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

But, Yasir Arman, a leading member of the SPLM, reportedly said his party will only accept Sudan’s unity, if south Sudan’s share of the oil wealth is “substantially” increased.

Arman said the semi-autonomous south will need the increased oil wealth to build and improve its infrastructure.

Obeid said Arman had always stirred trouble that, in his words, often creates tension between the NCP and the SPLM.

“Yasir Arman is marginalized actually and he was the previous chairman of SPLM northern sector. (But), now there is nothing called the SPLM northern sector because the SPLM is going and calling for secession and I don’t think there is any activity of the SPLM in the north,” said Obeid.

“During the interim period when he (Arman) was very active and he was a member of the interim National Assembly, he was all the time disturbing, creating a lot of confusion between the SPLM and the NCP. He was a major element of making trouble and igniting fire between the two partners. That is why we don’t consider this declaration by Yasir Arman, as he has no weight or position and he is trying to do something.”

Both the SPLM and the NCP have traded accusations about what they described as gross violations of the 2005 agreement that ended the country’s two decades of civil war.

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