Institutional and arms conflict inside the National Congress Party

Al Taghyeer: Ghurashi Awad

In interviews with “Al Taghyeer” newspaper, political experts referenced the deferral of the Advisory Council of the National Congress’ meetings to the ongoing conflict inside the party and at the helm of power regarding the nomination of Al-Bashir for a new term. However, this excludes the notion that these meetings will share the same fate of those of the Advisory Council of the Islamic Movement, which were adjourned and never resumed, citing disagreements facing the Party to nominate a candidate for the presidency. The political experts predicted the reassembly of the former after arranging the curtailment of those opposing Al-Bashir’s candidacy.

Previously, the deputy chairman of the Advisory Council of the party announced the indefinite deferral to the party’s Information section, stating that any future convention will be tied to Al-Bashir’s schedule because important issues still need to be discussed, including the elections in 2020. It was reiterated that Al-Bashir’s candidacy is yet to be fully determined.

Professor Mohamed Al-Magzoub , expanded on the differing points of view surrounding the issue, stating that there are groups that understand that a new candidacy for Al-Bashir mounts to the declaration of the death of the constitution and the efforts of the national dialogue, which could negatively affect and expose bad faith negotiation techniques from the government’s side. However, others downplayed the impact, suggesting that any shortcomings could be overcome through building alliances with the SPLA-North and other armed movements.

On the other hand, Dr. Khidir Al-Khawad attributed the current events to the conflict between the islamic ideologues and the security/military faction of the ruling party, claiming that the deferral plays in the same context that surrounded the previous meetings of the Islamic Movement. Dr. Khidir went on, citing the international conflict and its implications as reasons behind the aforementioned alignment, as demonstrated after Al-Bashir’s visit to Russia. He further stated  that the campaign to extend Al-Bashir’s rule started through state-held festivals and the support of the student sector, which reflects the conflict inside the council, which is tasked with the selection of its leader. On the same issue, Professor Al-Magzoub ruled out the possibility of a clash between the different groups inside the party, expecting a settlement that would reward all sides to stabilise the fluctuating and unwieldy conditions within the party.

Dr. Idrees anticipates the supposed arrangements to involve two steps: the approval of Al-Bashir’s candidacy and the amendment of the constitution, the latter being previously discussed as one of the outcomes of the national dialogue. This  amendment will be used to secure an extension for Al-Bashir as president for an additional two terms, and to ensure the implementation of such an arrangement and that any opposition, such as in the case of Amin Hassan Omer who previously described the step as a violation to the constitution and party statute, would promptly be eliminated by the security/military group which is in control. Based on past attempts of power struggles within the regime, those who bear the arms will emerge as winners, as Al-Bashir summed it after parting ways with Al-Turabi telling Yassin Omar Alimam “there is nothing institutional anymore, there is only a rifle.”

And there are indications that this group already took preparatory steps in facing such a scenario, through dissolving the popular security apparatus and weakening the popular defense forces.

However, the future won’t be decided solely by the outcome of the conflict within the party. It is likely that there will be a compromise in favor of Al Bashir’s supporters. There is also an international aspect that should be considered; many countries have publicly stated their reluctance to engage and support Bashir. Those messages draw an obvious link between the status quo and particular measures that would ease the delicate situation of the regime, namely the removal of Sudan from the list of the state sponsors of terrorism, a measure that drastically hinders the president’s international visits.

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