Sudanese PM resigns, two dead in pro-democracy protests

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced on Sunday that he was resigning, six weeks after returning to his post under a deal with military coup plotters which he said could save a transition to democracy.

Hamdok, who had not appointed a government as protests continued against the military takeover in October, said a roundtable was needed to produce a new deal for Sudan’s political transition.

“I have decided to hand over the responsibility and announce my resignation as Prime Minister, and to give another man or woman from this noble country a chance to (…) help him through what is left of the period of transition to a civil and democratic country, “he added. Mr. Hamdok said in a televised address.

The announcement throws the political future of Sudan even further into uncertainty, three years after an uprising that led to the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

An economist and former United Nations official widely respected by the international community, Hamdok became prime minister under a power-sharing agreement between the military and civilians following Bashir’s overthrow.

Evicted and placed under house arrest by the military in a coup on October 25, he was reinstated in November.

But the agreement for his return was denounced by many members of the civil coalition who had previously supported him and by protesters who continued to organize mass protests against the military regime.

Sudanese protesters gather amid tear gas fired by security forces during a demonstration against the October 25 coup in the capital Khartoum on January 2. Photograph: AFP via Getty

Protest death

During the last Sunday rallies, hours before Mr. Hamdok’s speech, security forces fired tear gas at protesters in Khartoum as protesters marched towards the presidential palace.

At least two people have been killed, bringing the death toll in protests since the October 25 coup to 56, said a committee of doctors aligned with the protest movement.

Among the economic reforms Hamdok oversaw were the removal of costly fuel subsidies and a sharp devaluation of the currency. These have enabled Sudan to benefit from at least 49 million euros in foreign debt relief, although the coup has cast doubt on the debt relief agreement and froze a significant Western economic support in Sudan.

Upon his return as Prime Minister in November, Hamdok said he wanted to preserve the economic measures taken by the transitional government and end the bloodshed after the number of victims of the crackdown on the demonstrations. – Reuters

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