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Sudan president Bashir closer to being president for life



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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s wish to extend his rule has moved closer to being a reality with lawmakers massively backing the scrapping of presidential term limits.

Some 294 lawmakers, majority of them members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Tuesday supported a constitutional amendment to allow the long-serving president be re-nominated for a third term in the office in 2020.

NCP parliamentary group chairman Abdul Rahman Mohamed Ali told journalists on Tuesday that the 294 members had proposed to abolish the presidential limit to pave the way for possible extension of President Bashir’s reign.

“The 294 parliamentarians, representing 33 political parties, agreed to submit this proposal to the parliament Speaker in order to open up the presidential tenure, so we suggested the change to Article 58 of the constitution, which allows only two presidential terms,” the NCP official stated.

Mr Ali attributed the proposal to the need to maintain the stability of the country.

“We believe that the only person who can guarantee the stability of the country is President Bashir,” he stressed.

“We also agreed to change Article 178, which gives the president the power to dismiss the governors of the states,” he added.

Parliament Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer welcomed the initiative, promising that the proposal would be endorsed in accordance with the House regulations.

“We have received the letter from the members, whose contents include the proposed change to articles 58 and 178,” Mr Omer said.

“Those two articles are very crucial for the political future of the country, so we will put them in front of the legislatures to be discussed according to the regulations of the assembly,” he added.

The Sudanese parliament has 490 members.

President Bashir, who came to power in 1989 through a military coup, has been elected twice in 2010 and 2015.

Last month, parliament’s minority members boycotted a House session to frustrate the ratification of the controversial elections law.

Sudanese opposition parties have vowed to boycott the 2020 elections, insisting on the creation of a democratic atmosphere for the process, including the stopping of the civil war in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the guaranteeing of the freedom of expression.