Politics of Sudan

From 1983 to 1997, the Sudan was divided into five regions in the north and three in the south, each headed by a military governor. After the 1985 coup, regional assemblies were suspended. The RCC was abolished in 1996, and the ruling National Islamic Front changed its name to the National Congress Party. After 1997, the structure of regional administration was replaced by the creation of 26 states. The executives, cabinets, and senior-level state officials are appointed by the president and their limited budgets are determined by and dispensed from Khartoum. The states, as a result, remain economically dependent upon the central government. Khartoum state, comprising the capital and outlying districts, is administered by a governor.

In December 1999, a power struggle climaxed between president al-Bashir and NIF founder, Islamist ideologue, and then speaker of parliament Hassan al-Turabi. Al-Turabi was stripped of his posts in the ruling party and the government, parliament was disbanded, the constitution was suspended, and a state of national emergency was declared by presidential decree. Parliament resumed in February 2001 after the December 2000 presidential and parliamentary elections, but the national emergency laws remain in effect. Al-Turabi was arrested in February 2001, and charged with being a threat to national security and the constitutional order for signing a memorandum of understanding with the SPLA. He was placed in a maximum-security prison and remains in custody.

Country name:
Conventional long form: Republic of the Sudan
Conventional short form: Sudan
Local long form: Jumhuriyat as-Sudan (Arabic: جمهوريّة السّودان)
Local short form: As-Sudan (Arabic: السّودان)
Former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan

Data code: SU

Government type: transitional - previously ruling military junta; presidential and National Assembly elections held in March 1996; new constitution drafted by Presidential Committee, went into effect on 30 June 1998 after being approved in nationwide referendum

Capital: Khartoum

Administrative divisions: 26 states (wilayat, singular - wilayah); A'ali an Nil, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Al Buhayrat, Al Jazirah, Al Khartum, Al Qadarif, Al Wahdah, An Nil al Abyad, An Nil al Azraq, Ash Shamaliyah, Bahr al Jabal, Gharb al Istiwa'iyah, Gharb Bahr al Ghazal, Gharb Darfur, Gharb Kurdufan, Janub Darfur, Janub Kurdufan, Junqali, Kassala, Nahr an Nil, Shamal Bahr al Ghazal, Shamal Darfur, Shamal Kurdufan, Sharq al Istiwa'iyah, Sinnar, Warab

Independence: January 1, 1956 (from Egypt and United Kingdom)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1956)

Constitution: April 12, 1973, suspended following coup of April 6, 1985; interim constitution of October 10, 1985 suspended following coup of June 30, 1989; new constitution implemented on June 30, 1998 partially suspended December 12, 1999 by President Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir.

Legal system: based on English common law and Islamic law; as of January 20, 1991, the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council imposed Islamic law in the northern states; Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; some separate religious courts; accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: NA years of age; universal, but noncompulsory

Executive branch:

  • Chief of state: President Lt. Gen. Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir (عمر حسن أحمد البشير) (since October 16, 1993); First Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad TAHA (علي عثمان محمد طه) (since February 17, 1998), Second Vice President (Police) Maj. Gen. George KONGOR AROP (since NA February 1994);
Note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
  • Head of Government: President Lt. General Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir (since October 16, 1993); First Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad TAHA (since February 17, 1998), Second Vice President (Police) Maj. Gen. George KONGOR AROP (since NA February 1994);
Note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
  • Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; Note - President al-Bashir's government is dominated by members of Sudan's National Islamic Front (NIF), a fundamentalist political organization formed from the Muslim Brotherhood in 1986; in 1998, the NIF created the National Congress as its legal front; the National Congress/NIF dominates much of Khartoum's overall domestic and foreign policies; President al-Bashir named a new cabinet on April 20, 1996 which includes members of the National Islamic Front, serving and retired military officers, and civilian technocrats; on March 8, 1998, he reshuffled the cabinet and brought in several former rebel and opposition members as ministers; he reshuffled his cabinet again on January 24, 2000 but announced few changes
  • Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 6-17 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2001)
  • Election results: Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir elected president; percent of vote - Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir 75.7%;
Note - about forty other candidates ran for president
  • Note: al-Bashir, as chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (RCC), assumed power on June 30, 1989 and served concurrently as chief of state, chairman of the RCC, prime minister, and minister of defense until 16 October 1993 when he was appointed president by the RCC; upon its dissolution on 16 October 1993, the RCC's executive and legislative powers were devolved to the president and the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), Sudan's appointed legislative body, which has since been replaced by the National Assembly elected in March 1996; on December 12, 1999 BASHIR dismissed the National Assembly during an internal power struggle between the president and speaker of the Parliament Hasan al-TURABI

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (400 seats; 275 elected by popular vote, 125 elected by a supra assembly of interest groups known as the National Congress)
  • Elections: last held March 6-17, 1996 (next scheduled for NA 2000)
  • Election results: NA; the March 1996 elections were held on a nonparty basis; parties are banned in the new National Assembly
  • Note: on December 12, 1999, President BASHIR sent troops to take over parliament

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Special Revolutionary Courts

Political parties and leaders: political parties were banned following the June 30, 1989 coup, however, political "associations" are allowed under a new law drafted in 1998 and implemented on January 1, 1999 and include - National Congress [Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir]

  • Note: the political association law is currently under review

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Islamic Front or NIF [Hasan al-Turabi] (the National Congress operates as its legal front)

International organization participation: ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist side

See also : Sudan

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