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Sudan junta chief denies military members could run in 2023 elections

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Sudan's top army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan holds a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum on October 26, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Sudanese Junta chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has denied that military members of the transitional administration could run for the country's July 2023 elections.

In a statement released on Sunday, al-Burhan’s office offered assurances that the military components and the paramilitary members will not participate in the upcoming elections.

"The president of the Sovereign Council denied what the Agence France-Presse reported about the participation of the military in the upcoming elections," the statement read

On Saturday, Burhan said in an interview with AFP that a landmark 2020 peace deal with rebel groups "granted some participants to the transitional period the right to become part of the government" that followed the transition.

The statement issued on Sunday said Burhan meant that only ex-rebel groups which signed a peace deal in 2020 could be candidates in the planned elections.

The top general had led a military takeover in late October, upending a partnership with civilian political parties. Al-Burhan dissolved the country’s transitional government on October 25 and arrested civilian leaders. However, he reinstated Abdalla Hamdok as the prime minister following international condemnation and mass protests.

The coup also drew international condemnation after the detention of dozens of key officials and crackdowns on protesters. At least 44 people were killed during demonstrations, many from gunshot wounds from security forces.

More than two years ago, massive anti-government demonstrations hit Sudan, mostly over deteriorating economic problems. The protesters, mostly youths, demanded the resignation of the then-President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was ultimately deposed through a military coup in April 2019, after ruling over the country for three decades. In August the same year, a transitional civilian-military administration was founded to run the country.

Hamdok and al-Burhan have now also agreed the release of political detainees who were jailed following the coup.

Local resistance committees and political parties have rejected the agreement signed by Hamdok, and have called for the military to exit politics immediately. Protesters believe the recent deal blocks the path toward full civilian rule in the country.

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