Analysis –SPLM’s presidential boycott signals the start of the end of Bashir’s Sudan

President Omar Al-Bashir listens during the 12th AU Summit.

(Victoria BC NSV) - Today’s decision by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to pull the rug under President Bashir will likely stir up the nastiest political showdown of the CPA era.

There will certainly be much debate and consternation in the days and weeks to come about the wisdom of the SPLM pullout. For some analysts, the SPLM’s snubbing of the NCP over "electoral irregularities" less than two weeks before the April polls might come back to haunt them, particularly that they are glued together by the CPA --notwithstanding the bellicosity of the NCP's political and military machine.

For others the boldness with which the SPLM executed today's strategy puts the SPLM back on a terrain where it has always excelled --when it rallies the larger Sudanese society around its cause.

A new Sudan alliance in the making?

While the days of the SPLM's vision of New Sudan --where it called for the unity of the country on a new and equal basis might be over -- the SPLM's pushing on with the democratic transformation of the centre wherever possible as a matter of survival for an independent south. This is likely why it decided to contest the gubernatorial and state elections in the north to effect bottom-up change.

The SPLM appears to be finally heeding the truthfulness of its prophesy --that the National Congress Party was "too deformed to be reformed." It's dawning on them that they cannot beat Bashir in his game of deceit and vote rigging, which he has perfected over time.

We should not forget that before there were multiparty elections in Sudan, Bashir used to re-select himself president. Hence, the SPLM alliance with the  northern parties under the umbrella of the National Consensus (NC) is its Plan B for achieving some of its goals.

Firstly, the NCP's expressed disregard for the referendum for independence of the south in January is not lost on the SPLM and it seeks a friendlier, less hawkish northern government --the majority of the National Consensus have all stressed cooperation and negotiation, unlike the arrogant NCP that is threatening to dismantle the referendum.

Secondly, the National Consensus is advantageous for the SPLM because it can be a deadly political tool in its arsenal that it can utilize to ensure sustained political pressure to keep Bashir restless at night.

Granted, the potency of the SPLM move will be vindicated tomorrow if their National Consensus allies do what they have all been advocating for --boycott the elections and leave President Bashir to kick the elections ball into unattended net.

Curiously, though, the National Consensus has deferred its final decision on the elections from today to tomorrow.

Since Mr. Bashir is determined to score multi-party victory at all costs in order to thwart the arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court, one would not be surprised to wake up on Thursday and find a split opposition.

Whether the SPLM will persuade the National Consensus to reject the charade elections will be a major test of their leverage. Nevertheless, the NC union is a union of commonsense and necessity, so its decision might not be too radical.

The bulk of the northern parties that make up the NC wants to use the SPLM to gain power in the north in order to be able to make a final push for voluntary "attractive unity" to southerners. The NC is also willing to play diplomacy with the SPLM to ensure an economically viable north, knowing fully well that the south is where the oil riches lie, and the south is almost gone.

Demise of Bashir's old Sudan on the horizon

To this end, if any cracks emerge in the opposition tomorrow, the recent convert to the National Consensus, Mr. Mohamed Osman al-Mirgani, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), would top the list of defectors.

On Saturday, Mirghani came out against the EU and US's acknowledgement of the inevitability of southern secession in an interview with AFP.

"Now we are listening to very senior officials in the United States and in Europe who talk about the peaceful secession of southern Sudan ... (but) this is wrong," Mirghani told AFP.

"This will destroy the peaceful coexistence between the people of Sudan and will lead to extremism and fanaticism," he said, in a translation of his comments from Arabic to English.

Whatever the outcome of tomorrow's announcement by the NC, there's no doubt that the next few weeks and months in Sudan will see titanic-like political battles between the SPLM and the NCP.

Although Bashir will fight back with all he's got, the demise of his brutal rule in Sudan is on the horizon. If he chooses the war option, he will have the SPLA and the Darfur rebel fronts to fight with this time around. Politically, the NC will hold his feet on fire internally and the ICC internationally.

*Mading Ngor is a Canadian Sudanese freelance journalist and the editor of The New Sudan Vision. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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