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Vol 49 No 2

Published 16th January 2008


Sudan

The centre versus the rest

El Sadig el Sideeg el Mahdi launched his bid to return to power, only to be shouted down by hundreds of Sudanese who had flocked to listen

El Sadig's view that the National Congress regime (NC, as the NIF has rebranded itself) is afraid of violence spreading looks like wishful thinking. As El Sadig has been meeting President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir regularly, perhaps he believes the NC is revealing its weaknesses to him. The inheritor of the Mahdi's mantle is used to a near regal welcome. Yet as El Sadig called for cooperation with the NC, 'the chairs were shaking underneath the people shouting "No! No!",' said one veteran activist. 'The whole hall was shaking'. This raises the issue of the Umma Party leader's relations with the rest of the multifarious opposition and how its leaders will deal with the NC. It also touches on opposition arguments about whether it is worthwhile standing in elections (or even returning to Sudan) while the NC is in control. Elections due by mid-2009 under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) may now be delayed yet again.

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