Sudan sovereign council takes over till elections

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The sovereign council that will oversee Sudan's transition to democracy

By Al Jazeera

Sudan‘s generals and protest leaders have announced a joint ruling body, formally disbanding the military council that took power after the toppling of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April in the wake of relentless protests against his rule.

The new, 11-member Sovereign Council is to rule Sudan for a little over three years until elections can be held.

A spokesman for the now-defunct Transitional Military Council (TMC) announced the names of the members of the joint body in a televised address late on Tuesday.

The council includes six civilians and five soldiers. It will be headed for 21 months by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who headed the TMC. A civilian leader appointed by the protest movement is to follow Burhan for the remaining 18 months.

General Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, the TMC’s deputy head widely known as Hemeti, was appointed to the council along with Yasser Atta, Ibrahim Gaber and Shams al-Din Kabashi.

Among the five council members named by the protest movement are a woman and a journalist. They are Hassan Mohamed Idris, Al-Siddiq Tawer Kafi, Ayesha Musa Saeed, Mohamed Osman Hassan al-Taayeshi and Raja Nicola Issa Abdul-Masseh.

Both sides agreed on the appointment of a Coptic Christian judge as the 11th member of the council.

The council members and the prime minister will be sworn in on Wednesday.

Last week, Sudan’s main opposition alliance nominated economist Abdalla Hamdok to serve as prime minister in the country’s transitional government.

The power-sharing agreement also provides for a 300-member legislative assembly to serve during the transitional period and a cabinet of technocrats.

The creation of the Sovereign Council was originally to be announced on Sunday, but the move was delayed because of last-minute, internal disputes over the opposition appointees.

The main challenge for the new government will be an economic crisis stemming from a shortage of foreign currency, resulting in a cash crunch and long lines for fuel and bread.

The military overthrew al-Bashir in April following months of widespread demonstrations against his three-decade-long authoritarian rule. The protests initially erupted in December last year over dire economic conditions but shortly turned to calls for al-Bashir’s removal.

Protesters continued taking to the streets after al-Bashir’s toppling, fearing the military could cling to power, and demanded a swift transition to a civilian government.

The tortuous negotiations over the joint military and civilian council continued despite a deadly security crackdown on a protest sit-in in Khartoum, which protesters blamed on the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, headed by Hemeti.

At least 250 people have been killed since December, according to protest organisers.

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