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UNSC Likely to Discuss Sudan as Military Coup Gov Struggles to Replace Resigned PM Hamdok

© REUTERS / Mohamed Nureldin AbdallahSudan's new Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok, addresses a news conference in Khartoum
Sudan's new Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok, addresses a news conference in Khartoum - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.01.2022
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When Abdallah Hamdok resigned as Sudan’s prime minister on Sunday, it left the country’s ruling military government in a bind, as he had been the civilian figurehead legitimizing the October 25 coup. However, simply appointing another civilian might not be so simple.
“My acceptance of the assignment to the position of prime minister was on the basis of a political consensus between the civilian and military components, which I had preached as a unique Sudanese model,” Hamdok said on Sunday as he announced his resignation on state television. “But it did not survive with the same degree of commitment and harmony with which it began.”
Hamdok had been appointed in 2019 to head the joint civilian-military Sovereign Council established after a popular uprising overthrew longtime military leader Omar al-Bashir. The council reflected the still-strong power of the military, which was led by men who had been close to Bashir and were reluctant to see the system change significantly, and the powerful pro-democracy groups that organized millions during months of protests that Bashir’s government had brutally repressed.
On November 21, Hamdok reached an agreement with Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the council after Hamdok had been arrested and placed in house arrest a month earlier, to return to office if he formed a "technocratic" and "non-partisan" Cabinet. In turn, Burhan agreed not to meddle in Hamdok’s appointments - a deal Hamdok said the military had broken, causing him to resign.
However, a senior member of the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), one of the most powerful pro-democracy groups, told Axios on Wednesday that the real reason was that Hamdok knew his new cabinet would not be accepted by the protest movement, which already viewed his return to office as a fig leaf disguising military rule.
Burhan can’t simply appoint a new puppet to Hamdok’s office, though: a group of Western powers and the European Union said on Tuesday they “will not support a Prime Minister or government appointed without the involvement of a broad range of civilian stakeholders.”
Some reports have suggested that Burhan has already approached Ibrahim Elbadawi, a former finance minister under Hamdok, to head the government. Elbadawi is the director of the Economic Research Forum think tank in Egypt and has worked in a wide variety of finance positions in Dubai, Nairobi, and at the World Bank.
Nor can the military continue along its path since October of brutally repressing the mass protests without significant penalties, either: hanging over the heads of any government in Khartoum is the billions foreign aid sent to Sudan since Bashir’s ouster, including the $700 million terminated by the US on October 25.
However, some suggested it might still try, using the militant response it’s likely to provoke from the protesters as an excuse to crack down even harder.
“The military wants the streets to lose credibility, so that they can say that they’re putting down a violent insurgency,” Kholood Khair, the managing partner of Khartoum-based think tank Insight Strategy Partners, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday. “They could then call the violence whatever they want. They could stick a label of terrorism on it.”
At least 57 protesters have been killed by security forces since the October 25 coup, and protesters have mounted 11 “March of Millions” demonstrations against the coup in that time.
Also on Wednesday, Mona Julla, Norway's Ambassador to the United Nations and chair of the UN Security Council, said the council was likely to discuss the situation in Sudan next week - its earliest opportunity to do so.
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