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Sudan PM Hamdok unveils first cabinet since fall of Bashir

Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, Reuters | Sudan's new Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok, speaks during a Reuters interview in Khartoum, Sudan on August 24, 2019.

Sudan’s new premier Thursday unveiled the first cabinet since veteran leader Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow, a major step in the country’s hard-won transition to civilian rule after decades of authoritarianism.

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The announcement had been delayed for days as Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok mulled over the nominees proposed by the movement that led the months-long protests against Bashir and also the generals who ousted him in April.

The 18-member cabinet includes four women, including the country’s first ever female foreign affairs minister, Asma Mohamed Abdalla, Hamdok told a news conference according to an AFP correspondent.

“Today we begin a new era,” Hamdok said.

“The top priority of the transition government is to end the war and build sustainable peace.”

The cabinet is expected to steer the daily affairs of the country during a transition period of 39 months, after the Forces of Freedom and Change protest movement and generals signed a power-sharing deal last month.

New cabinet's technocrats well-received by Sudanese, says Naba Mohiedeen in Khartoum

On Tuesday, Hamdok, who built a career in continental and international organisations, most recently as deputy executive secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, said the delay in forming the cabinet was due to the “gender balance” he had been trying to achieve.

He said he also wanted to ensure that the cabinet represented all the regions of the country.

Last month Sudan swore in a “sovereign council”, a joint civilian-military ruling body that aims to oversee the transition.

The council itself is the result of the power-sharing deal between the protesters and generals who seized power after the army ousted Bashir on April 11.

The deal stipulates a legislative body should be formed within 90 days of its signing.

The legislature should include no more than 300 members, with 201 seats allotted to the FFC.

Hamdok, who was nominated by the protest movement, had previously said he would be choosing technocrats based on their “competence” to lead Sudan through formidable challenges that also include ending internal conflicts.

Rebel groups from marginalised regions including Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan state waged long wars against Bashir’s forces.

Sudan’s power-sharing deal aims to forge peace with armed groups.

Hamdok’s cabinet will also be expected to fight corruption and dismantle the long-entrenched Islamist deep state created under Bashir’s 30-year rule.

(AFP)

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