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News and Press ReleasesSudan’s Political Parties Affairs Council bans Republican Party amidst calls for national dialogue

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Sudan’s Political Parties Affairs Council bans Republican Party amidst calls for national dialogue

05-09-2014, 05:07 AM
african centre for justice
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Registered: 03-08-2014
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Sudan’s Political Parties Affairs Council bans Republican Party amidst calls for national dialogue

    (8 May 2014) On 1 May the Sudanese Political Parties Affairs Council (PPAC) announced that the Sudanese Republican Party’s application to register as a political party had been rejected. The Republican Party, founded by Ustaz Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, opposes Islamic fundamentalism and promotes secularism.

    The PPAC rejected the application on the basis of Article 5 (1) of the Interim National Constitution (INC) 2005 and Articles 10 (1a) and 14 of the Political Parties Act 2007. The PPAC argued that the Republican Party’s political ideology contradicted the constitutional provision that law in Sudan be based on Islamic sharia law and the conditions for the establishment of political parties in Sudan.

    The Republican Party had initially submitted an application to formally register the party on 8 December 2013. Following their request, several anonymous bodies submitted a memorandum to the PPAC calling for the parties’ registration to be denied. Opposition parties have accused the PPAC of being affiliated with the ruling National Congress Party.

    The political ideology of the Republican Party in Sudan has always been controversial. Established in 1945 as the Republican Brotherhood by Ustaz Mahmoud Taha, the party rejected the passage of the September 1983 laws by President Jaafar Nimeiri. Taha was tried for apostasy in 1985 on the basis of his opposition to Sudan’s interpretation of Islamic sharia law. He was sentenced to death and executed days later.

    In recent months, the Government of Sudan (GoS) has signalled an increased willingness to engage in a “national dialogue” with the political opposition in advance of the 2015 elections and constitutional review process. The registration of political parties is an initial step in holding a national dialogue and multi-party elections in 2015.

    The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) condemns the rejection of the Republican Parties’ application. The legal justification for the PPAC’s decision, particularly that the party’s ideology conflicts with the process of law making in Sudan’s parliament, raises doubt that the PPAC’s verdict was politically motivated.

    ACJPS calls on the GoS to guarantee the right to freedom of assembly and association, including the right to form or join political parties, as prescribed in Article 40 of the INC 2005, as well as Sudan’s international commitments under Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

    Background

    The rejection of the Republican Party’s registration shows the continuing suppression of opposition political parties and activities.

    In September 2013 the government arrested hundreds while violently suppressing anti-government protests following austerity measures. Hundreds remained detained for weeks or months, often without charge or access to family or lawyers.

    On 6 April, President Omar al-Bashir ordered the release of all political detainees and declared that political parties had the right to carry out their activities and organise rallies. However, one day later the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) prevented the opposition Reform Now from holding a political forum in Omdurman and arrested a leader of the party’s student wing, Emad Al-Dien Hashim. On 15 April Bashir issued decree No.158, which forbids political parties from organising meetings in their own venues without approval and requires permission for public meetings 48 hours in advance.

    Contact: Katherine Perks, Programme Director, Kampala, on [email protected] or +256 788695068
                  

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