Sudan’s key coalition partners have intensified talks on expanding the transitional government to include armed groups who recently signed a peace deal with Khartoum.
Under the Juba Peace Agreement signed in October, a number of rebel groups were to be gradually incorporated into government in exchange for an end to hostilities.
The move will mean the Transitional Sovereign Council needs to increase its membership from the current 11 to 14 — with three more representatives from the armed factions that signed the peace deal.
A source in the Force of Freedom and Change, a coalition of professional and civil society groups represented in the transitional government, said it was urging members to form a Transitional Partners Council of 21 members, including the prime minister and the military members of the Sovereign Council.
However, the faction of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu rejected the proposal and considers it a "circumvention of peace” and weakening the next Legislative Council.
Well-placed sources said there was an agreement to form the 21-member council.
“It was agreed that the membership would be as follows: Five from the military component, five from the Revolutionary Front and 10 from Freedom and Change, in addition to the prime minister.”
Early this month, the Transitional Sovereign Council and the Ministers in Sudan adopted amendments to the Constitution, renaming the Council as “The Council of Partners for the Transitional Period” to be established by parties to the political agreement.
The Council will consist of FFC, the military component of the sovereign council, and the parties that signed the peace agreement in Juba.
According to the regulations, the council was proposed to be formed by the prime minister, 13 representatives of freedom and change; five members representing the military component of the sovereign council; and six members representing the parties signatories to peace in Juba, and two chosen by the civilian component of the sovereign and two by the Cabinet as observers.
The regulations also stipulated that the chairman of the Sovereign Council shall remain chair of the Council of the Transitional Partners with the Prime Minister as his deputy.
The members will come from the FFC, the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, the coalition of armed movements, and the military.
The regulation also stipulated that the Council be charged with the country’s strategic vision of forming a new constitution as well as the overall transition to an elected, democratic government.
Members will work in a coordinating manner and the leadership positions on the Council will be held tentatively until the end of the transition.
Hind Ramadan, an analyst in Khartoum told The EastAfrican: “The transitional government went well in completing the peace component and expanded the political incubator and became both civil and military, but there are challenges.
“The most prominent of which is the power-sharing with the armed struggle movements that signed the Juba Peace Agreement (Revolutionary Front Alliance). We may witness conflicts over positions,” he said referring to the call by one armed faction, the Sudanese revolutionary Front, for more seats.
The peace deal specified the number of representatives in both the ruling Council and the legislative assembly. But the Front’s demands signalled their own internal disagreements on who should be selected, Mr Hind said.
Even more worrying is that new political alliances have begun to appear after the withdrawal of the Sudanese Communist Party and the Umma National Party as members of the FFC. The two are some of the largest political movements in the country.
The SPLM North faction led by Malik Agar and the head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Minni Arko Minawi, appeared on national TV recently, calling for national reconciliation with the political forces, including members of the former regime who were not involved in crimes or legal violations.
The invitation was widely rejected by other political forces who argue the two were making personal pleas.