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Sudan’s prime minister resigns; calls for fresh talks with military

Days after he was reinstated as prime minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok quit after day of violent protests demanding democratic progress.

In a televised speech on Sunday, Hamdok said that his efforts to bridge the widening gap and settle disputes among the political forces have failed. He called for a fresh round of talks about a stalled transition to democracy is needed with the military.

“I decided to give back the responsibility and announce my resignation as prime minister, and give a chance to another man or woman of this noble country to complete the leadership of the dear homeland and pass through it during the remaining life of the transition towards reviving a civil and democratic state,” said Hamdok.

The resignation of the prime minister, a technocrat and former UN banker, comes after a deteriorating economy and mass street protests against a military coup last October.

Security forces have continuously violently dispersed crowds calling for an end to military rule and at least 56 people have been killed since the October coup.

It should be noted that the 2019 street demonstrations, led by women and professionals, prompted the military to oust Omar al-Bashir; a longtime autocrat who had been in power for 30 years.

A new set of military leaders led by Abdel Fattah Burhan, who is now de facto head of state, set up a hybrid military-civilian council charged with moving the country towards democracy. Sudan has since plunged into economic crisis, exacerbated by Covid-19 and the need for deep structural reforms after decades of misrule and profligate spending on the military.

As the transitional council lost popularity, the generals moved against Hamdok last October, placing him under house arrest. They reinstated him in November following international pressure, particularly from the US, which has linked aid and debt forgiveness with progress towards democracy.

The military says it is committed to holding democratic elections in 2023, but progress towards that goal has been slow and Hamdok’s position in the government is without doubt untenable.

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