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politics

In Shadow of Violence, Sudan Rivals Sign New Power-Sharing Deal

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In Shadow of Violence, Sudan Rivals Sign New Power-Sharing Deal

  • Latest in series of pacts meant to pave way for civilian rule
  • Piecemeal agreements seen as a tactic to appease mediators
General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo and Ahmed Rabie shake hands after signing the constitutional declaration in Khartoum on Aug. 4. 

General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo and Ahmed Rabie shake hands after signing the constitutional declaration in Khartoum on Aug. 4. 

Photographer: Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty Images

General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo and Ahmed Rabie shake hands after signing the constitutional declaration in Khartoum on Aug. 4. 

Photographer: Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty Images

Sudan’s ruling military council signed a deal with its political opposition outlining how they’ll share power in a three-year transitional government, the latest step toward democracy after President Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow.

The two sides inked the so-called constitutional declaration Sunday in the capital, Khartoum. The African Union’s envoy to Sudan, Mohamed el-Hassan Lebatt, said at the ceremony that a final version will be signed Aug. 17, without describing how it will differ.

The accord, which defines the relationships between branches of the transitional government, is the latest to be reached by Sudan’s opposition and military rulers since officers seized control of Africa’s third-largest country in April. Demonstrators have pressed on with their demands for civilian rule amid sporadic violence; a June crackdown on a Khartoum sit-in left more than 100 people dead, while at least eight protesters including schoolchildren were shot dead in a regional capital last week.

Devils on Horseback Leader Holds Fate of Sudan in His Hands

The military council has denied ordering a clampdown and says it’s prepared to surrender power. Building on the first power-sharing deal agreed on in July, authorities said Sunday that the transitional government’s 11-member joint civilian-military council will be appointed Aug. 18, a prime minister on Aug. 20, and the cabinet on Aug. 28.

The series of “partial deals” may be a tactic by Sudan’s rulers to placate the African Union and others who are demanding a swift transition, according to Salah Aldoma, a professor of international relations at Omdurman Islamic University in Khartoum’s twin city. He said the council could be buying time to resolve key issues such as the role of a powerful government militia that controls Sudan’s main cities.

The AU, which suspended Sudan from the bloc’s activities after June’s violence, has played a prominent role in negotiations, as has the European Union.

(Updates with dates set for transitional government appointments in fourth paragraph.)