Sudan's Prime Minister announces his resignation, in the midst of a political deadlock
I tried as much as I possibly could to prevent our country from sliding into a disaster
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his retirement on Sunday, citing a political impasse and large pro-democracy protests in the aftermath of a military coup that sabotaged the country's fragile transition to democracy.
Following the October coup, Hamdok, a former UN official who was seen as the civilian face of Sudan's transitional government, was returned as prime minister in November as part of an arrangement with the military. He had failed to appoint a Cabinet during that period, and his resignation has thrown Sudan into political turmoil amid mounting security and economic concerns.
In a televised national address on Sunday, Hamdok called for a debate to agree on a "national charter" and "create a roadmap" to finish the democratic transition in accordance with the 2019 transitional constitutional framework.
"I decided to return the responsibility and declare my resignation as prime minister," he said, adding that his stepping down would allow a chance for another person to lead the nation and complete its transition to a "civilian, democratic country." He did not name a successor.
The prime minister said that his efforts to bridge the expanding divide and settle political problems had failed.
He warned that the country's prolonged political impasse since the military takeover might devolve into a full-fledged catastrophe, wreaking havoc on the country's already-fragile economy.
"I tried as much as I possibly could to prevent our country from sliding into a disaster. Now, our nation is going through a dangerous turning point that could threaten its survival unless it is urgently rectified," he said.
Sudan's preparations to transition to democracy had been thrown off by the October coup, which came after a popular revolt drove the military to depose longstanding ruler Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist administration in April 2019.
Generals and demonstrators established a power-sharing agreement four months after al-removal Bashir's to administer the country until elections in 2023. The military takeover, which has threatened to restore Sudan to international isolation, has strained military-civilian ties.
Hamdok's resignation comes amid a strong security crackdown on demonstrators who are protesting not just the takeover, but also the subsequent accord that reinstated him and put the pro-democracy movement on the back burner. Under international pressure, he was re-elected in November in a pact that calls for him to lead an independent technocratic Cabinet under military supervision.
"I have had the honour of serving my country people for more than two years. And during his period I have sometimes done well, and I have sometimes failed," Hamdok said.
The November deal was rejected by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of Sudanese political parties and pro-democracy organisations, and sa is still committed to eliminating military rule. The coalition accused Hamdok of allowing the military to rule the country and continued to organise anti-coup public protests, which were violently suppressed.
There has been mounting talk for the past two weeks that he may resign. Attempts at a national and international level to persuade him to continue in power have failed.
Following Hamdok's resignation, the US State Department urged Sudanese authorities to "set aside differences, find consensus, and ensure continued civilian rule" on Twitter.
It further demanded that the next premier and Cabinet "be in line with the (2019) constitutional declaration to meet the people's goals of freedom, peace, and justice."
Sudanese security forces forcefully dispersed pro-democracy protestors hours before Hamdok's resignation address, killing at least three people, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement. Hundreds of protestors were hurt, according to the group.
Despite increased security, protesters in Khartoum and Omdurman obstructed bridges and roadways. According to advocacy group NetBlocs, Internet connections were also interrupted before of the protests. Since the October 25 coup, authorities have utilised similar tactics on numerous occasions.
According to the medical group, Sunday's deaths bring the total number of demonstrators killed since the coup to at least 57. Hundreds of people have also been injured.
According to the United Nations, allegations of sexual abuse by security personnel against female protestors surfaced last month, including rape and gang rape.
The ruling sovereign council has promised to investigate the demonstrators' violence.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement on Saturday urging security forces to "immediately cease the use of deadly force against protesters" and to hold those responsible for the violence accountable.
"We do not want to return to the past, and are prepared to respond to those who seek to block the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a civilian-led, democratic government," he added.
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