Sudan's landmark pact: democracy in the making
A constitutional declaration, signed on Sunday between the ruling generals and the leaders of an unprecedented protest movement, sets out the framework for a transitional leadership and builds on a landmark power-sharing deal initialled on 17 July.
It outlines the formation of a transitional civilian government and a parliament to govern for a three-year transition period under the supervision of a joint civilian-military ruling body.
After more than seven months of demonstrations and violence, the pact was welcomed domestically and internationally and will be formally signed on 17 August in the presence of foreign dignitaries. The next day, the composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council will be announced.
A prime minister will be named on 20 August and cabinet members on 28 August. The sovereign council and the cabinet will meet for the first time on 1 September.
Sudan's transitional period will last 39 months from the signing of the constitutional declaration. At the end of the transitional period elections will be held.
Bringing peace among Sudanese factions in conflict-ridden regions is a priority during the first six months of the transitional period. The transitional government is to work on drawing up legal and economic reforms as well as outlining a balanced foreign policy.
The women of Sudan's protests
Women have been the driving force behind the months of protest that resulted in the ousting of Sudan's long-term president, Omar al-Bashir, in a coup d'état. They continue to protest for peaceful change and are willing to accept great hardships along the way.
Alaa Salah, the woman who became famous worldwide when an image of her leading chants to a crowd went viral
The woman who came back: Khadija Saleh lived abroad for six years. She returned to her native country in March in order to take part in the protests for a new Sudan. "I left my safe place because I want a better future for this country," says the 41-year-old.
The activist: when security forces violently broke up a protest camp close to the Ministry of Defence in Khartoum on 3 June, 53-year-old Nahid Gabralla was beaten and threatened with rape. "My daughter deserves to live in a good country. That is why we are fighting for a democratic Sudan."
The supporter: Hadia Hasaballah works for an NGO that supports victims of the violence that took place on 3 June. Eye witnesses and activists have reported that women were sexually abused on that day. There is no official confirmation that these acts were perpetrated. "No Sudanese woman will openly admit that she was raped because of the stigma attached" says Hasaballah.
The silent warrior: during the Bashir era, there were strict moral codes for women. They could be arrested simply for wearing trousers. Mahi Aba-Yazid was wearing trousers when she was in the protest camp in Khartoum. She too was beaten. The 35-year-old believes that the reason was more the clothes she was wearing and less her devotion to the cause
The independently minded woman: "I don't want to wear a headscarf, but it is not my decision," says 23-year-old student Duha Mohmed. She would like to have the right to wear what she likes. This was one of the reasons she took part in the protests.
The optimist: Nagda Mansour spent 75 days in prison because she took part in a demonstration in December. The 39-year-old translator finds it problematic to negotiate with the military about change because of the army's role in the war in Darfur. Nevertheless, she considers the agreement to initially share power with the military to be "a beginning, not the end."
The mother: shocked by the violence, Manal Farah asked her son not to take part in the protests. The 22-year-old student was killed. When he started university, her son began to ask why there was so much corruption in Sudan. He felt passionately that change was necessary for a new Sudan. "I pray that my son's dreams will come true."
The ruling sovereign council will be composed of 11 members including six civilians and five from the military. It will be headed by a general for the first 21 months, and afterwards by a civilian for 18 months.
The council will oversee the formation of a transitional civilian administration including a cabinet and a legislative body.
The prime minister shall be nominated by the umbrella group of the protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, and confirmed by the sovereign ruling council.
The cabinet shall be comprised of no more than 20 ministers to be picked by the premier from the nominees put forward by the alliance. But this does not include the interior and defence ministers who shall be chosen by the military members of the sovereign council.
The legislative body should be formed within 90 days from the signing of the deal. It should comprise no more than 300 people and 40 percent of the seats should be allocated to women.
The alliance shall have 67 percent of the seats and the remaining 33 percent shall be for other political parties, not linked to Bashir.
Sudan's armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which have been widely blamed for a deadly crackdown on a weeks-long sit-in in June, are part of the military institution under the command of the head of the armed forces.
The respective laws and regulations of the armed forces and the RSF – which emerged out of the feared Janjaweed militia – shall regulate the military institution's relationship with the executive authority.
The renamed General Intelligence Services is a regulatory body, concerned with gathering, analysing and presenting information to the relevant authorities. The intelligence agency falls under the executive authority and the sovereign council.
Under the declaration, every citizen has a right to freedom and security and no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest excepted in accordance with the law.
Every person has the right to freedom of religious belief. Every citizen has the right to freedom of expression, spreading information, and access to the press.
Internet access provided it does not interfere with the country's order, security and public ethics is a right.
The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed. Every person holds the right to form and/or join political parties, associations, syndicates, and professional unions. (AFP)