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News and Press ReleasesSudan's Al Bashir restricts political parties after promising opposite

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Sudan's Al Bashir restricts political parties after promising opposite

04-15-2014, 03:36 PM
Radio Dabanga
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Registered: 03-30-2014
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Sudan's Al Bashir restricts political parties after promising opposite


    KHARTOUM

    (

    15 Apr

    .) -

    Political parties are not allowed to organise meetings in their own venues and houses, without approval of the authorities. For public meetings and rallies they have to ask permission 48 hours prior to the event. This is part of a decree No. 158 issued by President Omar Al Bashir, that is effective from Monday evening.

    Lawyers have been puzzled with the decree that contradicts Al Bashir's statement of last week announcing that he would grant all political parties complete freedom of gathering, in order to allow for a national dialogue.

    Conflicting media reports

    Contrary to other media reports, the presidential decree states, according to the official government press agency SUNA: “The political parties do not have the right to hold public meetings, rallies, and seminars within their headquarters without obtaining the prior approval of the competent authority”. The decree adds that parties do not have the right to criticize political leaders of the country nor are they allowed to speak out in favour of any of the rebel movements.

    The authorities have the right to withhold their approval if they assume the political meeting will inflame conflict or stirring up sedition. The decree reinstates the Political Parties Act of 2007, Article 14. Posters are only allowed if they are not 'affecting the unity of the Sudanese people'.

    At the same time the media are ordered to 'maintain strict neutrality'. Their reports may not 'affect the country's unity and cohesion of the social fabric'. The implementation of the new decree is delegated to the security organs of the state, including the state governor, and the police.

    'President has no right to restrict parties'

    The senior lawyer Nabil Adib Abdala speaking to Radio Dabanga said that president Al Bashir has no right to order any decree that regulates political parties. “In the decree the president refers to Article 58 section 1 of the Constitution. But that does not give him the power to regulate political parties, since it touches the freedoms of people. These freedoms are already stipulated in the constitution and are subject to law and not to a presidential decree.”

    According to Adib Abdala, the president could have made an internal order to the national security to stay away from any interference with the political parties. “But this decree uses vague terms that can be easily interpreted as allowing to restrict the parties and the media. What does it mean that you are not allowed to cause unrest? This can be used to stop any demonstration.

    “President Al Bashir should have told the security and police clearly that everyone is allowed to have demonstrations as long as they do not engage in any violent act against others”, Nabil Adeib said.

    On 7 April, Sudanese security agents blocked the opposition Reform Now Party's political forum in Omdurman, and arrested the leader of the party's student wing.

    Resolutions not 'first step' to dialogue

    During a political round table on 6 April with 83 political parties, Al Bashir directed authorities across Sudan to enable political parties to carry out their activities without restrictions, except those dictated by the law. The President stated in his keynote address that the meeting was the first step towards the comprehensive national dialogue, as well as an agreement on the primary principles to guide the dialogue. In a televised address to the nation last January, President Al Bashir announced his initiative for a national dialogue with all parties, including rebel movements.

    File photo: President of Sudan Omar Al Bashir (Radio Dabanga archive)

                  

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