A hope for a lull in Sudan? The ruling Military Council and protesters announced early Wednesday, after marathon talks, an agreement on a three-year political transition period to prepare a transfer of power to civilians.
"We have agreed on a three-year transition period," General Yasser Atta, a member of the military council who took power after President Omar al-Bashir's ouster on 11 April, told reporters. swept away by a wave of protests that began in December after tripling the price of bread. Madani Abbas Madani, a representative of the Alliance for Freedom and Change (ALC), the spearhead of the protest movement, confirmed the agreement.
According to General Atta, the first six months of the three-year transition period will be spent on peace agreements with rebel movements in western and southern Sudan.
What about the Sovereign Council?
The senior officer also reported agreement on the prerogatives and composition of the future legislature. It will include, he said, 300 appointed members and will consist of 67% by representatives of the demonstrators, meeting within the ALC. The rest of the assembly will be occupied by political forces not affiliated with the LAC.
The coalition is demanding a transfer of power to a civilian authority and relies on the support of protesters who have been standing in front of army headquarters in Khartoum since 6 April.
The senior Sudanese official has not mentioned an agreement on the composition of the Sovereign Council, which will be the high authority of the transition period before the total transfer of power to civilians. The army is looking for a majority on this council while the ALC wants it to be dominated by civilians. General Atta, however, promised "total agreement in less than 24 hours to meet the aspirations of the people."
Six dead Monday
Discussions between the Military Council and the LAC began Monday. On the first day, they led to a quick agreement on the structure of the institutions of the transition period, namely a Sovereign Council, a Cabinet and a Legislative Assembly. But violence, which left six dead – five civilians and one soldier – and many wounded, according to medical and military sources, weakened the talks.
Madani Abbas Madani, LAC representative, said the two sides had decided to form a commission of inquiry into Monday night's deadly violence. Bakr Faisal, another leader of the protest, had earlier called for such an initiative to "identify and punish those responsible for this violence." The military council attributed the violence to "elements" seeking to derail the political process.