Sudan's Bashir Says 2015 Elections Won't Be Delayed

Khartoum — The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir announced that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has no intention of delaying the upcoming 2015 elections and reiterated his call to political parties to engage in national dialogue and be part of next year's polls.

Sudan's President Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech on January 27, 2014 in Khartoum (AFP Photo/Ebrahim Hamid)

He stressed in his address to the emergency meeting of the NCP's Shura (consultative) council on Saturday that the government will initiate a national dialogue with all political forces without exclusion to discuss issues including peace, economic conditions, political freedoms and the Sudanese identity.

Bashir also said the government is willing to negotiate with the armed rebel groups provided that they lay down arms, affirming that the country is entering a new phase in which NCP seeks to bring the Sudanese people together.

He said the speech which he delivered recently mentioned several issues including the incomplete peace process, saying that several rebel groups continue to bear arms against the government.

The Sudanese president also said they seek to achieve responsible freedom which takes into account the national interests.

"Extreme trends have developed into the society such as regionalism and ethnicity, but we want Sudan[national identity] to be the sole identity", he added

He further asserted that the 2015 elections will take place on time adding that the NCP seeks to agree with majority of the political forces to participate in it.

"We began our contacts with the political forces in order to pave the way for the national dialogue", he said.

Late last month, Bashir delivered a speech in which he announced a four-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalize national identity", calling for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items though he did not specify practical steps to do so.

The long awaited speech that was expected to unveil a major reform proposal, created a wave of disappointment among those who followed it including opposition leaders who were present.

Opposition figures who were present made statements either personally or through their parties criticizing the lack of specifics and excessive generalities that gave no real signs of concessions on the part of the ruling party.

Sudan's opposition parties call for forming a transitional government and holding a national conference with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution for the conflicts in Darfur region, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states.

The interim government would organize general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime. But the NCP rejects this proposal saying opposition parties must simply prepare for the 2015 elections and that rebels should sign first peace accords.

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