Abdulla Hamdok has been reinstated as Prime Minister of Sudan on Sunday and promised to introduce a “technocratic government” made up of qualified professionals to lead the country on a path to democracy.
The former UN economist, who was deposed by the military on October 25, reinstated as interim premier after signing a deal with Sudan’s top general to restore the transition to civilian rule yesterday.
In an interview he gave to Al Jazeera, Hamdok pledged his cabinet, currently under formation, will focus on establishing a constitutional conference and holding elections by June 2023, to complete “the transition to democracy and its related obligations”.
“You all know that [holding] the elections will require one full year at least, and it may drag on for one and a half years,” Hamdok said, speaking with Al Jazeera hours after he signed the political agreement with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
For weeks, the interim PM had been under house arrest by the military that also dissolved his cabinet and arrested a number of civilians who had held top positions under a power-sharing deal agreed after the popular overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
The 14-point deal between Hamdok and the military, signed in the presidential palace in Khartoum, provides for the release of all political prisoners detained during the coup and stipulates that a 2019 constitutional declaration be the basis for a political transition, according to details read out on state television.
The agreement ensures the prime minister has the “power and the authority” to form an independent and technocratic government in “absolute liberty and without any pressure”, Hamdok told Al Jazeera.
However, it remains unclear how much power the upcoming government is going to hold. The appointment of cabinet ministers has to be approved by the Sovereign Council, which is headed by al-Burhan.
Pro-democracy activists have rejected Sunday’s deal and have pledged to step up anti-military rallies, according media reports. They have also rejected any form of negotiation or partnership with the army.
The October coup has drawn international criticism. Sudanese people have been taking to the streets en masse since the military takeover, which upended the country’s fragile transition to democracy.
At least 41 people have been killed during confrontations with police since the coup, as security forces have at times used live rounds to disperse anti-coup demonstrators.
Hamdok pledged to launch an independent probe into the killings and violations committed, and said the deal was signed to “avoid further bloodshed”.
Featured Image Caption: Hamdok was held under house arrest by military leaders for weeks following a coup on October 25 [Handout via Anadolu]