An official of the International Crisis Group says the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will need the cooperation of President-elect Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) if the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is to be fully implemented.
Fouad Hikmat says the SPLM will also need to participate in the legislative and executive arms of a government led by Mr. Bashir ahead of Southern Sudan’s referendum, which is scheduled to be held next January.
“Definitely, they [SPLM] need to be in the executive and the legislative branches of the government because they need to continue working with the National Congress Party to implement the remaining provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” he said.
The National Electoral Commission declared Mr. Bashir winner of the presidential election. The incumbent received more than 62 percent of the total votes cast. Several opposition parties boycotted the vote claiming widespread rigging.
President Bashir’s dominant NCP said it would invite opposition groups into the government if it won the election. Some observers said the move was aimed at resolving tensions after the opposition accused the ruling party of influencing Sudan’s electoral commission to rig the vote -- a charge the commission denies.
Hikmat said the NCP must choose to invite opposition groups into its cabinet.
“I think that is the prerogative of the National Congress Party if they are willing to invite the other opposition parties those who participated in the elections, like the PCP (The Popular Congress Party) of Al-Turabi, and the DUP (the Democratic Unionist Party) of Al-Mirghani, or those who boycotted. However, what I hear is that most of them do not want to take part in the government because they don’t recognize the outcome of the elections, and they think that Bashir is not a legitimate president,” Hikmat said.
He also said despite the refusal of some opposition parties to recognize the legitimacy of President Bashir or join his government, the NCP will continue pursuing its own objectives after achieving its first goal of winning the election.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s local media quoted opposition UMMA party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi as saying he is ready to engage in talks with President Bashir’s government that concern the upcoming referendum on independence for the south, the Darfur crisis, and opportunities to achieve national unity.
The January 2011 referendum will allow residents of the south to decide whether or not to remain a part of Sudan or to secede and become an independent country.
The elections and upcoming referendum are essential elements of the CPA, which effectively ended decades of civil war between the north and the south.