Politics and society

Sudan today

The theory and practice of politics in Sudan are two entirely different stories. Officially, Sudan is a democracy, organised as a federal republic with a directly elected president. In practice, Omar al-Bashir came to power after a military coup in 1989, leaning on the National Islamic Front (NIF). In 1998, internal struggles resulted in the foundation of the National Congress Party (NCP), which has been led by Bashir ever since.

Bashir also won the first multi-party presidential election in 2010 as well as the most recent election in 2015. Both were boycotted by major opposition candidates and saw a low voter turnout.

Sudan's most recent history has been defined by war. While a peace deal ended the 21-year civil war in the south in 2005, another conflict was breaking out in Darfur in western Sudan at the same time. The current 2005 constitution defines Sudan as a multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious state. But politics on the ground have so far failed to accommodate social and political interests arising from the country's diversity.

Amidst the prevailing conditions, numerous stakeholders demand reforms embracing the multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious reality, recognising the needs and rights of all members of society. Opposition in Sudan encompasses a wide spectrum, ranging from ethnic groups, through political parties to civil society, women's, youth and student movements. Many of these groups partially operate from exile, as does the online Sudan Tribune, which is trying to fill the gap of plural and free reporting on Sudan.