August 4, 2019 / 10:22 AM / 10 months ago

Sudan factions initial pact ushering in transitional government

Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration in front of the defense ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s military rulers and the main opposition coalition initialled a constitutional declaration on Sunday, paving the way to the formation of a transitional government following the overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.

The two sides reached agreement on Saturday on the shape of a transitional government in lengthy negotiations that followed Bashir’s overthrow by the army in April.

Sunday’s formalities were attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators, who had helped broker the accord. Those present in the room clapped and cheered as army and civilian representatives held up copies of the agreement.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmoud Drir said the agreement “establishes civilian and democratic rule that seeks to build a state of law, a state of equality, a state which does not marginalise its citizens”.

The parties are expected to put their final signatures on the agreement on Aug. 17 at a ceremony in Khartoum attended by foreign leaders.

According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the formation of a sovereign council, which will run the country during a three-year transitional period leading up to elections, will be announced on Aug. 18.

A new prime minister will be named on Aug. 20 and a cabinet on Aug. 28. The cabinet and the sovereign council will meet together on Sept. 1, the sources said, ahead of the appointment of a legislative assembly in three months.

The 300-member assembly will serve during the transitional period. The main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), will have 67% of its seats and other political groups not associated with Bashir will have the rest.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum, Writing by Mahmoud Mourad and Giles Elgood, Editing by David Evans and Angus MacSwan

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