The Sudanese crisis is deepening after the resignation of the Prime Minister

He was first named, then arrested, and then returned to office. Now, barely six weeks after he was released from house arrest to be reinstated as Sudanese prime minister, Abdallah Hamdok has resigned, leaving the country’s generals in a constitutional crisis.

For Muzan Alneel, a participant in roller skating mass street protests which have shaken this northeastern African country of 44 million for years, Hamdock’s resignation Sunday night was inevitable.

“They started calling him ‘secretary of the coup,'” she said, referring to Hamdock’s perceived role as a civilian “fig leaf” for a military dictatorship that has consistently shown its willingness to turn its weapons against the people.

At least 56 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded by security forces since October 25, when the army overthrew Hamdock in its second coup in three years and the 17th since Sudan became independent in 1956.

In April 2019, after months of mass demonstrations, the army marched against longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir, who had led the repressive state for 30 years. The generals, led by Abdel Fattah Burhan, then began an alleged transition to what they said were democratic elections.

“This makes the situation clearer because it brings the army and civilians into direct confrontation,” said Amjed Farid, a former assistant chief of Hamdock, referring to the resignation of the prime minister on television on Sunday. “The military has now expelled all civilians from the government.”

The country, Farid said, would become unmanageable if the generals did not chart a clear path to civilian rule. “The Sudanese people are taking to the streets almost every day against the coup. There is no room for stability or any way of governing the country. ”

Mass protests erupted in Sudan after the army overthrew Hamdoc in October, in fact its second coup in three years © Marwan Ali / AP

The protesters said they were unwilling to accept the dominance of the military establishment, which is considered brutal, corrupt and dishonest in its stated goal of returning to the barracks. Civilians willing to work with the military, including the once-popular Hamdock, are facing growing criticism.

“We demand that the army be completely removed from the political arena,” Alneel said.

Elections have been scheduled for 2023, but there is skepticism about whether generals will risk relinquishing power, opening up to potential prosecution for past human rights violations and alleged corrupt business practices. It is unclear whether the generals intend to appoint a new prime minister to replace Hamdock, something experts said would be illegal under the transitional constitution.

Many Sudanese hope that international pressure and ongoing protests will convince the generals to negotiate their own exit. World bank paused disbursement of $ 2 billion in potential disbursements after the October coup, jeopardizing progress toward debt relief for $ 60 billion of Sudan’s international arrears.

David Malpass, president of the World Bank, said he feared the coup and the subsequent breakdown of relations with international donors could have a “dramatic impact … on the country’s social and economic recovery”.

It was hoped that Hamdock, a British economist, would be the first appointed the prime minister four months after the 2019 coup that ousted Bashir could steer a hybrid military-civilian government toward democracy.

Although he has noted some successes, such as removing Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, Hamdock has struggled to bridge the gap between citizens’ expectations and the reality of an isolated economy that has nearly gone bankrupt.

Now that he is no more, and with him any kind of civic respect, Farid said, the generals have remained turned to the people. “The blood that continues to be shed since October 25 must stop flowing. If not, the army will fight against the entire Sudanese population. “

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