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Sudan's PCP Party Focusing on Social, Cultural Issues, Says Party's Presidential Candidate

The Sudanese opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) differs sharply from the ruling National Congress Party under President Omar al-Bashir, says the party’s presidential candidate, Abdullah Deng Nhial.

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“We are concerned about the social and cultural issues of the Sudan, something other parties are not talking about,” Deng Nhial, who is the PCP's deputy secretary-general, says of his party's platform.

Deng Nhial calls the PCP a national unity party, citing the fact that it has members from northern, central and southern Sudan.

He says the deep religious differences between the north and the south were settled in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), also known as the Naivasha Agreement.

The PCP respects the agreement, says Deng Nhial, because it protects freedom of religion for people in both the north and the south.

Deng Nhial also says the current government has not paid enough attention to the Darfur crisis, calling the situation a political issue that can be solved through "peaceful dialogue only."

Deng Nhial, a former student leader who later held a number of government positions, including the influential religious affairs portfolio, was the first southerner to become governor of a northern state - White Nile.