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Tires burn during a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan. Tires burn during a demonstration to commemorate the first anniversary of a deadly crackdown carried out by security forces on protesters, in Khartoum, Sudan, June 3, 2020 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

COVID-19 Threatens to Derail an Unsteady Democratic Transition in Sudan

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

More than a year after the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir’s regime, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting Sudan’s still-fragile democratic transition. Differences between the civilian and military leaders in the transitional, power-sharing government are growing, as the military consolidates its authority due to restrictive security measures that went into effect in April, including a ban on public gatherings and protests around the country, with particularly harsh restrictions in effect in the capital, Khartoum. COVID-19 has also brought chaos to Sudan’s troubled economy, damaging the transitional government’s credibility and popularity.

The road had not been smooth since last August, when Sudan’s powerful military agreed to an interim constitution, officially known as the Constitutional Declaration, with the Forces for Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of activists that had led the protest movement to end Bashir’s 30-year rule. The Constitutional Declaration inaugurated a three-year power-sharing period until national elections could be held, but it did not take long for relations between the civilian and military sides of the transitional government, known as the Sovereign Council, to come under strain. ...

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