Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his retirement on Sunday amid parliamentary gridlock and large pro-democracy rallies in the aftermath of a military coup that stymied the country’s delicate democratic transition.
Following the October coup, Hamdok, a former UN official who was viewed as the civilian face of Sudan’s transitional government, was returned as prime minister in November as part of an arrangement with the military. He had failed to appoint a Cabinet during that period, and his resignation has thrown Sudan into political turmoil amid mounting security and economic concerns.
In a televised national speech on Sunday, Hamdok called for a debate to agree on a “national charter” and “create a roadmap” to finish the democratic transition in accordance with the 2019 transitional constitutional framework.
“I have chosen to return the duty and retire as Prime Minister,” he said, adding that his departure will give another individual the opportunity to lead the country and continue its transition to a “civilian, democratic country.” He made no mention of a successor.
The prime minister said that his efforts to bridge the expanding divide and settle political problems had failed.
He warned that the country’s prolonged political impasse since the military takeover might devolve into a full-fledged catastrophe, wreaking havoc on the country’s already-fragile economy.
“I did everything I could to keep our country from descending into calamity.” “Right now, our country is at a critical juncture that might jeopardize its survival unless it is quickly corrected,” he stated.
Sudan’s preparations to transition to democracy had been thrown off by the October coup, which came after a popular revolt drove the military to depose longstanding ruler Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist administration in April 2019.
Generals and demonstrators established a power-sharing agreement four months after al-removal Bashir’s to administer the nation until elections in 2023. The military coup, which has threatened to restore Sudan to international isolation, has strained military-civilian ties.
Hamdok’s resignation comes amid a strong security crackdown on demonstrators who are protesting not just the takeover, but also the following accord that reinstalled him and put the pro-democracy movement on the back burner. Under international pressure, he was re-elected in November in a pact that called for him to lead an independent technocratic Cabinet under military supervision.
“For more than two years, I have had the distinction of serving my country’s people. And throughout his reign, I’ve done well on occasion and failed on others,” Hamdok explained.
The November accord was rejected by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of Sudanese political parties and pro-democracy organizations, and sa is still dedicated to eliminating military rule. The coalition accused Hamdok of allowing the military to take control of the government, and it continued to organize anti-coup public rallies that were met with harsh repression.
There has been mounting talk for the past two weeks that he may resign. Attempts at a national and international level to persuade him to continue in power have failed.
Following Hamdok’s resignation, the US State Department encouraged Sudanese authorities to “put aside disagreements, achieve consensus, and assure ongoing civilian government” on Twitter.
It further demanded that the next premier and Cabinet be appointed “in accordance with the (2019) constitutional declaration in order to achieve the people’s ideals of freedom, peace, and justice.”
“It’s time for an international mediator to do what Hamdok couldn’t: establish a political consensus between the military, the street, and the FFC, and craft a blueprint for the future,” said Cameron Hudson, a former State Department official and Sudan expert at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
Sudanese security forces forcefully dispersed pro-democracy protestors hours before Hamdok’s resignation address, killing at least three people, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement. Hundreds of protestors were hurt, according to the organization.
Despite increased security, protesters in Khartoum and Omdurman obstructed bridges and roadways. According to advocacy organization NetBlocs, Internet connections were also interrupted before of the protests. Since the coup on Oct. 25, authorities have tried similar techniques several times.
According to the medical organization, Sunday’s deaths bring the total number of demonstrators killed since the coup to at least 57. Hundreds of others have also been injured.
According to the United Nations, allegations of sexual abuse by security personnel against female protestors arose last month, including rape and gang rape.
The ruling sovereign council has promised to examine the demonstrators’ violence.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on security forces to “immediately halt the use of lethal force against protestors” and to bring anyone responsible for the violence accountable on Saturday.
“We do not want to go back to the past,” he said, adding that “we are prepared to respond to those who want to stifle the Sudanese people’s desire for a civilian-led, democratic administration.”