Editor’s Note: June 04, 2019

Back to the drawing board for Sudan

Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) on Tuesday scrapped a tentative transition deal with opposition groups, following the ousting of longtime president Omar al-Bashir in April, calling for elections to be held within nine months.

This comes after a deadly crackdown on protesters in the capital Khartoum on Monday, reportedly leaving up to 35 people dead, drawing international condemnation.

What looks like a sudden deterioration in relations is likely a bid to retain power. Weeks of negotiations had failed to resolve disagreement whether a transition would be led by civilians or the military.

Monday’s crackdown also comes after high profile visits by TMC head general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia. All three have publicly expressed support for the military.

Forgotten in all of this is Sudan’s crumbling economy, the catalyst for the mass protests that led to Bashir’s removal. Years of mismanagement have contributed to soaring inflation (45.4% in May) and an acute currency shortage that have brought the country to a standstill.

With months of political uncertainty and turmoil likely to come, meaningful action to stabilize the economy is at best unlikely.

After today’s announcement and Monday’s deadly violence, Sudan has basically gone back to the drawing board.

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