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Sudan Edges Closer to Civilian Rule as Army Set to Share Power

Mohammed Alamin

(Bloomberg) -- Sudan’s military council signed a power-sharing deal with the main opposition movement, edging Africa’s third-largest country a little closer to civilian rule about four months after President Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow.

The transition accord that will be valid for about three years was signed Saturday in the capital, Khartoum, and sets the stage for the naming of a joint civilian-military council and a new cabinet and prime minister in the coming week. It follows sustained global pressure on Sudan’s military, which ousted Bashir after mass protests and has since been accused of deadly crackdowns on demonstrators urging it to cede power.

Sudan’s transition is being closely watched in northern Africa and the Middle East, with the uprisings earlier this decade that unseated presidents from Tunisia to Yemen still fresh in the memory. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates quickly pledged aid to Sudan, roiled by years of insurgencies and economic mismanagement, prompting accusations that they’re seeking to bolster the remnants of Bashir’s 30-year regime.

Leaders from Kenya and South Sudan were among those attending Saturday’s ceremony. The army announced Thursday that Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the current military council, would lead its 11-member replacement, which is set to feature five other army figures and five civilians.

The new council is due to be appointed Sunday, a prime minister on Aug. 20, and the cabinet on Aug. 28. Sudan’s main opposition group said Thursday its nomination for the premiership is Abdalla Hamdok, an economist who’s worked for institutions including the African Development Bank and International Labour Organization.

The Arab Parliament, an Arab League advisory body, praised the consensus reached and called for Sudan to be removed from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, state-run Qatar News Agency said on Twitter.

(Updates with Arab Parliament comment in last paragraph)

--With assistance from Sarah Algethami.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mohammed Alamin in Khartoum at malamin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, Michael Gunn, Mark Williams

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