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Sudan’s NCP and Turabi’s party at odds over political freedoms

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February 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) Wednesday has accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of obstructing crucial constitutional amendments providing to restrict the powers of the security services and to guarantee political freedoms .

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Popular Congress Party (PCP) Political secretary Kamal Omer (Photo SUNA)

On 10 January, the PCP announced they reached an agreement with the ruling party to fill constitutional amendments related to political freedoms to the parliament to endorse it. The party of the late Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi says that restoring democracy is the main goal behind their tireless support for the contested dialogue process.

These reforms include ensuring political freedoms, curbing the powerful National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) to reduce risk of violations of human rights, and to guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary.

Differences emerged during a joint meeting Wednesday between the constitutional amendments and the dialogue’s coordinating committee on Wednesday when the PCP Political Secretary Kamal Omer walked out of the meeting to protest the presentation of a draft different from what had been agreed and already filed to the parliament, as he said.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, Omer said the Chairperson of the Constitutional Amendments Committee, Badria Suleiman presented to the meeting a "false copy" of the proposed amendments guaranteeing freedoms.

"Then, she requested the participants to approve the modified copy. Some endorsed it because they had no idea about the initial draft prepared by the PCP" leadership and approved by Omer al-Bashir, he further said.

However, Suleiman told the meeting that the draft that Kamal was speaking about represents only the position of the Popular Congress Party.

The Islamist opposition PCP is the only large opposition group that continues to support the government-led national dialogue process. The National Umma Party (NUP) and the Reform Now Movement (RNM) suspended their participation pointing to the lack of NCP lack of seriousness to achieve democratic reforms.

The Islamist opposition party believes that the democratization process would pave the way for the unification of the Sudanese Islamists forces. Once reunited these forces can provide the needed base for the adoption of an Islamic constitution democratically .

"Badria’s conduct sends a negative signal on the future implementation of the National dialogue outputs, especially since the President himself is the one who filled the amendments to the parliament after it had been drafted by the late Hassan al-Turabi," said Omer who rejoined the meeting at the insistence of other participants.

Asked about the next step that his party might take, he said they will wait to see the final position of the amendments commission, after what they will take the appropriate decision.

He further added they would not accept to "remove a virgule" from the proposals drafted by their late leader al-Turabi.

The PCP proposes that the role of the NISS be reduced to collect information and to not be able to detain someone without an arrest warrant issued by a judge. Also, it ends press confiscation and censorship.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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