Sudan's Sovereignty Council has initiated election procedures

Sudan's Prime Minister Hamdok may have resigned from his post as mass demonstrations are witnessed in Khartoum demanding the removal of the military from the country's politics

REUTERS/MOHAMED NURELDIN  -   Sudan's prime minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok

Sudan's Sovereignty Council on Monday announced the start of practical procedures for the upcoming elections in order to "consolidate the country's democratic transition". The chairman of the Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burham, stressed in a meeting at the Republican Palace that this electoral preparation aims to "ensure the participation of citizens in the election of an elected government through the ballot box", all before the end of the timetable prepared by the National Elections Commission that stipulates the time for holding elections, which runs from early January this year until July 2023.

The council has also announced that the aim of the electoral procedures is to "initiate electoral awareness through the various means and provide logistical requirements and electoral materials", as reported to the Sudanese News Agency (SUNA). The council's official spokesperson, Salma Abdul Jabbar, also referred to the situation in the Darfur region with a view to holding a meeting soon to establish Security Arrangements in the area.

PHOTO/ Consejo Soberano de Transición de Sudán vía AP  - In this photo provided by Sudan's Sovereign Transitional Council, Sudan's top general Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, centre left, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok hold documents during a ceremony to reinstate Hamdok, who was deposed in a coup last month.

The Sudan Sovereignty Council has also ordered the authorities to investigate "what is circulating in the media" about the 19 December 2021 rape incident, referring to the massive demonstrations in Khartoum that reached the gates of the presidential palace, despite the blocking of roads and the cutting of the internet.

Demonstrations have been taking place for two weeks in the Sudanese capital against the military coup of 25 October, demanding the elimination of the army from political life in the country with slogans reading "Power to the people, the military to the barracks" and "The state is civilian and not military". Many of them have ended in clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The aim of all these demonstrations is to reach the palace where Abdel Fattah Al Burham, the military coup leader and president of the Sovereign Council that was installed after the coup d'état, is staying.

PHTO/AFP - Sudanese demonstrators take to the streets in the capital Khartoum on December 25, 2021, to protest against military rule. - Thousands of Sudanese protesters demonstrated two months after a military coup, demanding that soldiers "return to the barracks" and calling for a transition to civilian rule.

These demonstrations are also sparked by rumours of a possible resignation of Sudanese Prime Minister Adballa Hambok. Military and civilian sources said that Hamdok informed Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burham and his deputy Mohamed Hamda Dagalo, known as "Hemedti", of his intention to resign. This comes two months after the military coup of 25 October and Hamdok's pact with the military to form a civilian-military government, which brought him under criticism from the Sudanese population.

Despite the announcement by the mainly military Sovereignty Council to begin electoral procedures, it is not entirely clear who the presidential candidates will be and whether the elections will be guaranteed to be openly fair and democratic, when the demonstrations shaking the country are demanding a return to civilian rule.