Sudan’s first PM since 1989 coup sworn in

A former army general and top aide to President Omar al-Bashir was sworn in Thursday as Sudan’s first prime minister since the post was scrapped in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup.

Bakri Hassan Saleh, a military officer involved in the bloodless coup that brought Bashir to power three decades ago, was named prime minister on Wednesday by the executive bureau of the president’s National Congress Party (NCP).

“Today, we took the major step of appointing Bakri Hassan Saleh as prime minister,” Bashir announced at a press conference after the swearing-in ceremony.

Saleh, 68, who will also retain his current post of Sudan’s first vice president, was sworn in at a presidential palace in Khartoum.

Today, we took the major step of appointing Bakri Hassan Saleh as prime minister”

Bashir abolished the post of prime minister after the coup, and analysts said Saleh’s appointment as premier was an attempt to give the president’s decades-old regime a new look.

A new government led by Saleh as prime minister is expected to be formed in the coming days.

Sudanese lawmakers had voted in December to reinstate the post of prime minister.

They also approved major amendments to a transitional constitution adopted in 2005 ahead of Sudan’s north-south split in 2011 following two decades of civil war.

While the amendments give the new prime minister responsiblity for executive power, the president retains the right to form a government or sack ministers.

General Bakri’s appointment is broadly a continuation of Bashir’s rule rather than a new chapter in Sudan’s politics”

“General Bakri’s appointment is broadly a continuation of Bashir’s rule rather than a new chapter in Sudan’s politics,” Khaled Tigani, editor-in-chief of weekly newspaper Elaff, told AFP.

“But at the end of the day it depends on the leadership that General Bakri manages to show.”

Saleh, a key aide to Bashir for decades, has previously held key ministerial portfolios including interior and defence.

He has also been adviser to Bashir on national security and was head of Sudan’s all powerful National Security and Intelligence Service in the 1990s.

Bashir had led the 1989 coup against then-prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi with the help of Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi.

Read more: AFP.

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