Sudan opposition names five civilian members of sovereign council

Military rulers to also announce two more of its five members before both sides jointly choose a final civilian member.

    The sovereign council will be headed by the military for the first 21 months of the transition [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
    The sovereign council will be headed by the military for the first 21 months of the transition [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

    Sudan's opposition coalition has named five people, including a woman, as civilian members of the country's sovereign council to be sworn in on Monday, a source within the coalition has said.

    A landmark power-sharing agreement signed on Saturday paved the way for Sudan's transition to a civilian-led government and eventual general elections.

    The deal provides for a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country, but largely delegates executive powers to a cabinet of ministers, which is yet to be formed.

    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, a coalition source told Reuters news agency on Sunday.

    Sudan protest leaders, military sign transitional government deal

    On Saturday, the Transitional Military Council's (TMC) spokesman said its head Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Lieutenant General Yasser Al-Atta will serve as three of the five military members.

    The TMC is yet to announce the other two members of the sovereign council.

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

    The body, which will replace the TMC, will be headed by a general for the first 21 months and a civilian for the last 18 months of the transition period, according to the agreement. 

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

    Short-lived euphoria?  

    After weeks of tense negotiations, Sudan's TMC and protest leaders reached a preliminary agreement earlier this month following international pressure and concerns that the political crisis could ignite a civil war.

    The constitutional declaration reached on August 4 brought an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that saw masses mobilise against former president Omar al-Bashir, who was removed in April after 30 years in power.

    While the power-sharing compromise 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 General Daglo - a paramilitary commander who was one of the signatories to the documents on Saturday and named as one of five military members of the sovereign council - 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 the democracy in the bud.  

    Sudanese analyst Abdel Latif al-Buni said one of the most immediate perils facing the transition was a desire for vengeance.

    "A spirit of revenge against the former regime is dangerous," he said. "It will lead to a clash between the former regime and the new rulers."  

    Al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on genocide charges for crimes committed in the western Darfur region, is expected to appear in court on Monday to face trial on corruption charges.

    Will Sudan return to civilian rule?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies