Sudan coalition names five civilians to sovereign council

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Sudanese children wave small national flags as people celebrate outside the Friendship Hall in the capital Khartoum where generals and protest leaders on Saturday signed a historic transitional constitution meant to pave the way for civilian rule in Sudan. — AFP

KHARTOUM — Sudan's opposition coalition on Sunday named five people as civilian members of the country's sovereign council to be sworn in on Monday, a source within the coalition told Reuters.

A power-sharing agreement signed on Saturday paves the way for a transitional government and eventual elections. It provides for a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers.

According to the agreement, the opposition coalition is allowed to choose five members of the council and the military another five, with the two sides jointly choosing a civilian as an eleventh member.

The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) chose Aisha Mousa, Siddig Tower, Mohamed Elfaki Suleiman, Hassan Sheikh Idris and Taha Othman Ishaq, the coalition source said.

On Saturday the spokesman for the Transitional Military Council (TMC) said that TMC head Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, his deputy Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Lt. Gen. Yasser Al-Atta will serve as three of the five military members. It has yet to announce the other two chosen members.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Khartoum on Saturday to celebrate the final signing of the power-sharing deal.

The military members will select the head of the council for the first 21 months of the transition period, which lasts three years and three months, according to the agreement.

The FFC has nominated economist Abdalla Hamdok as prime minister. He is expected to be appointed on Tuesday and sworn in on Wednesday.

Rare scenes of jubilation filled the streets of the capital on Saturday.

The signing ceremony in a hall by the Nile river was attended by several high-ranking foreign officials, the biggest such event in years to be held in the once-pariah state.

Worldwide congratulations poured in after the signing, which revelers and officials alike hailed as the beginning of a "new Sudan" after 30 years of rule by the now-detained Omar Al-Bashir.

"I welcome this historic moment for Sudan. This agreement responds to the demands of the Sudanese people who have tirelessly called for change and a better future," said Britain's Minister for Africa Andrew Stephenson.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed his country would support the establishment of "a government that protects the rights of all Sudanese citizens and leads to free and fair elections".

According to the green book of documents signed on Saturday, several key steps will be taken before embarking on the long and obstacle-ridden road to 2022 polls.

While the power-sharing compromise reached earlier this month was widely hailed as the best Sudan could hope for, some members of the protest camp feel it short-changed their revolution.

The omnipresence in the transition of Gen. Daglo, a paramilitary commander who was one of the signatories of the documents on Saturday, is one of the main causes of unease.

His forces are blamed for the deadly repression of the protests and many suspect the man best known by his nickname 'Hemeti' is simply biding his time to pounce on power and nip democracy in the bud. — Agencies


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