Sudan’s SPLM boycott parliament and demand democracy

Sudan’s junior government partners said yesterday they would boycott parliament until President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s party agreed to pass democratic laws needed for elections due next year.
US President Barack Obama unveiled a new Sudan policy of engagement, offering incentives to Khartoum to implement a 2005 north-south peace deal and end a separate conflict in Darfur. But it warned of penalties if Bashir’s National Congress Party dragged its feet.

The NCP ended more than two decades of civil war with the former southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) with an agreement to share power and wealth and give the south a vote on secession in 2011.

But with elections less than six months away, the SPLM united with around 20 opposition parties and threatened to boycott the vote if laws including reforming the security forces were not passed this parliamentary session.

They say current laws contravene the constitution written after the peace deal and are allowing rights abuses to continue.
“We have about nine new laws that need to be passed,” senior SPLM official James Wani Igga told Reuters yesterday.

Yasir Arman, head of the SPLM’s northern sector, said the party would boycott parliament for one week and wanted concrete progress on drafting the laws before they returned.
“It’s either the laws or the constitution,” he said.

The NCP says it is confident agreement will be made on the laws and questions how a boycott of parliament would help.

Washington said Sudan could descend into further chaos if foreign powers did not take action to ensure the north-south deal was fully implemented.

The civil war claimed some two million lives and drove four million from their homes over issues including religion, ethnicity, ideology and oil.

Pic: SPLM leader