Sudanese opposition groups declared victory for their “revolution” on Friday as the military junta agreed to a power-sharing deal until the transition to an elected civilian government is complete.
If the deal holds together, it will end a political crisis that began in April with the ouster of dictator Omar al-Bashir. Hundreds have been killed and injured during military crackdowns on pro-democracy demonstrators.
According to an African Union mediator, the power-sharing deal will “establish a sovereign council by rotation between the military and civilians for a period of three years or slightly more.”
The council will include five seats for military officers and six for civilian representatives. The junta must effectively approve one of the civilian members.
The mediator added that both sides agreed to conduct a “detailed, transparent, national, independent investigation into all the regrettable violent incidents that the country faced in recent weeks.”
The deal appears to resolve an impasse created by the military junta’s insistence that it should control executive power in Sudan until the years-long transition to civilian rule is complete. Previous power-sharing bargains have collapsed because the military insisted on holding more seats in the ruling council or installing a military officer as a supreme executive.
The compromise proposal will install a military officer as president of the ruling council for the first 21 months of its existence, to be followed by a civilian president. In exchange, civilian political groups will be able to appoint positions in the executive Cabinet.
“Today our revolution has won and our victory shines,” the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), the main opposition group, declared on Friday.
“We hope that the formation of transitional institutions marks the beginning of a new era. We hope it is an era where we can shut off the sound of pistols and destroy for good prisons of arbitrary detention,” said another opposition group, the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC).
An FDFC leader conceded that the deal is not fully satisfying to the opposition but “it is a step forward to bring peace to our people.”
Military-controlled media outlets broadcast a message of “congratulations to the Sudanese people.”
The deal was struck after a brutal raid on an opposition sit-in camp resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, plus reports of rape and other human rights abuses by the infamous Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group loyal to the junta. Demonstrators turned out in even greater numbers after the raid, a show of determination that apparently convinced the junta to relent on some of its demands.