Sudan in Transition: Two Broad Factors that Will Determine What Happens Now

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Sudan in Transition: Two Broad Factors that Will Determine What Happens Now
Sudan in Transition: Two Broad Factors that Will Determine What Happens Now

Sudan’s courageous protesters have already forced incredible change since 6 April. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has been dissolved. President Omar al-Bashir is now confined to Kober Central prison. And his short-lived successor Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf lasted less than 24 hours before resigning. Nevertheless, these milestones risk becoming cosmetic gestures if the wider kleptocratic architecture of the former regime is preserved.

The establishment of a new Transitional Military Council (TMC), now fronted by Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, has been described by some as a “decorative coup” featuring the same strongmen and pathologies as its precursor. Its proposal for a two-year transition amounts to “rule via extra-constitutional fiat”, according to Crisis Group. It is an expression of “Bashir-ism” without al-Bashir, in the words of Alex de Waal on African Arguments, that reflects the resilience of Sudan’s profligate oligarchy. This outcome, however, is not yet definitive. Pessimistic analogies with Egypt after the Arab Spring are premature. Instead, as protesters return to the streets today for a planned million-strong march, the future of Sudan’s government will likely depend on two broad key issues.

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