Government and Politics of Sudan

Since independence in 1956, The Sudan has witnessed several constitutions and regime changes, including military coups in 1985 and 1989. On seizing power in 1989, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) for National Salvation abolished the transitional constitution of 1985, the National Assembly, and all political parties and trade unions and ruled by decree.

Government of National Unity (GNU) - the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed a power-sharing government under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); the NCP, which came to power by military coup in 1989, is the majority partner; the agreement stipulates national elections in 2009.

All executive and legislative powers vested in Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (RCC-NS), fifteen-member body of military officers.

RCC-NS chairman Lieutenant General Umar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir designated president of the republic and prime minister. RCC-NS appointed members of Council of Ministers, or cabinet, governors of states, and judges of courts.

Government's authority in southern one-third of Sudan limited to several towns in which military garrisons were based. Rest of south controlled by Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

Multiparty politics, banned after the 1989 coup, were reintroduced in 1999. The National Congress party (formerly the Islamic National Front; NIF), long the only legal party, continued to dominate the political scene in the years immediately following. Other political associations active in The Sudan include the Ummah Party (UP), the Alliance of the People's Working Forces (APWF), the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an association of several opposition movements.

Although RCC-NS banned all political parties in 1989, it tolerated political activity by National Islamic Front (NIF), a coalition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. All other parties persecuted, and their leaders had reorganized abroad or in southern areas outside government control. Opposition parties tended to be sectarian.

Omar al-Bashir took power in the June 1989 military coup against the elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. He formed a government of national unity in July 2005 as part of a deal to end Africa's longest-running civil war.

The power-sharing administration has included former rebels from the south, scene of a 21-year war which was ended with what is known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

However, the main party representing the south, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), temporarily suspended its participation in the government in October 2007, presenting the biggest challenge to the fragile peace agreement.

The SPLM complained that key elements of the peace deal were being ignored and demanded that they be resolved by January 2008. The peace deal awarded a degree of autonomy to the south.

He dissolved parliament, banned political parties and set up and chaired the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, which ruled through a civilian government.

He formed an alliance with Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National lslamic Front, who became the regime's ideologue and is thought to be behind the introduction of Sharia law in the north in 1991. In 1993 Mr Bashir dissolved the Revolutionary Command for National Salvation, concentrating power in his own hands.

Mr Bashir was elected president in 1996, and Hassan al-Turabi became speaker of parliament. A new constitution was drawn up and some opposition activity was permitted.

But in late 1999 Mr Bashir dissolved parliament and declared a state of emergency after Mr Turabi tried to give parliament the power to remove the president and to reinstate the post of prime minister. Hassan al-Turabi was later imprisoned, accused of treason after signing a deal with separatist rebels in the south.

President Bashir won re-election in 2000. Supporters of the National Congress Party filled the parliament. The opposition boycotted the poll, accusing Mr Bashir of vote-rigging.

Administrative Divisions

In 1991 RCC-NS decreed division of Sudan into nine states. Each state further subdivided into provinces and local government areas or districts.

Civil justice is administered through the Supreme Court, appeals courts, and courts of first instance. There is also a Constitutional Court. Muslims remain subject to Islamic law, as do constituents in northern states of the country regardless of their religious belief. Southern states—with a primarily animist-Christian population - are exempt from much, but not all, of Islamic law.

The Sudan's armed forces have been greatly expanded since 1969, mainly to cope with the continuing rebellion in the south. By the early 1980s the forces consisted of an army, a navy, and an air force. In 1990–91 the government began to establish a militia and also instituted a military draft to furnish recruits to conduct the war.

Principal Government Officials

  • President, Prime Minister, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces - Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir
  • First Vice President - Salva Kiir
  • Vice President - Ali Osman Muhamad Taha
  • Foreign Minister - Lam Akol

Major Parties

  • DUP (Democratic Unionist Party),
  • NCP (National Congress party),
  • NUP (National Unionist Party),
  • SSU (Sudan Socialist Union)
  • Umma Party (Umma means ‘Community of the Believers’)
Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008