Former Prime Minister of Sudan in addition to leader of the Umma party, Sadiq Al Mahdi, in June 2015 at the annual Sudan & South Sudan Conference in Hermannsburg, Germany.
By Jason Patinkin
Omdurman, Sudan — Sadiq al-Mahdi’s political career is usually one of the longest in modern Sudanese history, including two stints as prime minister. although amid an unprecedented upheaval in which has seen mass street protests in addition to a military coup, al-Mahdi says he will step away through partisan politics.
that has a people-led revolution still rocking Sudan, former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi – the country’s last democratically elected leader – might be anticipated to jump back into the political horse race.
The 83-year-old leader includes a reputation as a political survivor, in addition to returned to Sudan in December through a year in self-imposed exile amid massive anti-government protests. although instead he says the idea’s time for him to have a different role.
Not only has his opposition Umma party declined to be part of any transitional government although, al-Mahdi himself says he will not run in any future elections.
“I will have no post within the transition, or within the coming elections. In fact, I am looking for a different career … I will stand down in such political, partisan, in addition to executive roles,” he said.
A completely new era for Sudanese politics
The announcement, made in a wide-ranging interview for VOA, marks a completely new era for politics in Sudan.
Al-Mahdi has played a central role in Sudan’s political life for over a half century.
He was prime minister through 1966 to 1967, in addition to again through 1986 until 1989, when he was ousted by an alliance of Islamists in addition to the military led by former president Omar al-Bashir.
Bashir ruled for nearly 30 years in addition to was accused of corruption in addition to committing war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.
The army ousted him in April after citizens across the country staged months of street protests against his rule.
The mass demonstrations continue today as protesters are demanding the Transitional Military Council hand power to a civilian government.
Although al-Mahdi is usually not taking a leading role within the protests since his return to Sudan, he has nothing although praise for the revolution.
“This specific last revolutionary movement lasted for four months in addition to This specific is usually longer than any period within the past … Such phenomena is usually completely completely new to Sudanese politics. in addition to also, what’s completely new to the idea is usually the role of the youth. I thought the youth under This specific regime had their future stolen … I thought they were a lost generation. In fact, they surprised me by being so dynamic in addition to so patriotic … the idea looks in addition to is usually an expression of the return of the soul of Sudan … There is usually a restoration of trust in addition to honor for the country,” he said.
The ruling military council has been negotiating with protest leaders on a transitional government to govern until fresh elections.
although despite an agreement Monday on the structure of a transitional authority, violence broke out after nightfall.
Several protesters in addition to one military officer were killed, in addition to dozens of civilians wounded in what witnesses said were attacks by security forces on the demonstration.
Speaking before the attacks, al-Mahdi urged the military in addition to civilians to work together to organize quick elections.
“I think the role of the military who took power, the military council is usually to hold power, although make for an immediate in addition to quick transformation of executive power to a civilian council of ministers … Civilians could be as autocratic as military, so what we need is usually a quick general in addition to free elections to ensure in which power is usually truly handed over to the people. Of course, we cannot do in which before dismantling the power centers of the outgoing regime. This specific should be agreed in addition to should be implemented as soon as possible,” he said.
Sudan’s protesters have since early April refused to leave their sit-in around the Defense Ministry until a civilian government is usually in place.
Most do not trust the military to willingly hand over power in addition to point out the military leaders still include those who supported Bashir in addition to atrocities committed in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Sudan’s attorney general’s office on Monday announced Bashir would certainly face charges for protesters killed within the recent demonstration. although the military council has rejected the idea of turning Bashir over to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of war crimes in addition to genocide.
Al-Mahdi says the people of Darfur should decide whether Bashir is usually tried at the ICC or at home.
although the elderly politician cautions in which putting Bashir on trial in Sudan may prove difficult.
“The first thing we do is usually to reform our judicial system to ensure in which the idea can make free in addition to fair trial,” he said.
Al-Mahdi says in which, after leaving partisan politics, he will write books in addition to attend to various other roles he has in various Arab, African, Islamic, in addition to international organizations.
The octogenarian says while the games of politics will be off his schedule, he will stay physically active.
“I also regularly play tennis … Three times a week. We go Sunday, Tuesday, in addition to Thursday,” he said.
Al-Mahdi adds in which he is usually hopeful someone will soon take over his title as Sudan’s last democratically elected leader.
the idea’s a mantle in which he will be happy to pass on.