Accessibility links

Breaking News

Sudan's President Hands Party Leadership to Deputy

FILE - Ahmed Muhammed Harun, the former Sudanese junior interior minister responsible for the western Darfur region, was named as a suspect in war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor, Feb. 27, 2007.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down from his position as chairman of the ruling party.

The National Congress Party made the announcement late Thursday, following weeks of protests against Bashir's rule.

The president transferred his party leadership role to NCP deputy chairman Ahmed Harun, until the party's next general convention.

A NCP party statement said a new president would be chosen at the next general convention.

A date for the convention, however, has not been set.

The NCP enjoys a sweeping majority in parliament. The party's chief becomes its candidate for the presidential elections, according to the party's charter.

Harun's deputy chairmanship appointment happened in recent days.

Like Bashir, Harun is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

Bashir recently declared a state of emergency for Sudan, following the wave of protests.

The president also recently established emergency courts to deal with any violations during the state of emergency.

On Thursday, the emergency courts in Khartoum sentenced eight protesters to prison, with sentences ranging from five years to six months.

The protests initially erupted over rising prices and shortages, but quickly transformed into a call for Bashir to step down from the presidency.