Sudanese demonstrators gather in front of military headquarters during a demonstration demanding a civilian transition government, in Khartoum, Sudan. (Photo by Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The ‘Day After’ in Sudan

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, April 18

Political change is rarely successful if carried out quickly and dramatically, as the consequences of abrupt revolutions are often very costly. This has been particularly true in the Arab world, where a wave of revolutions that unfolded in 2011, commonly referred to as the Arab Spring, led to major political upheaval throughout the entire Middle East. Change often makes things worse, not better, because of the absence of political and civil society organizations capable of compensating for the vacuum created by the overthrow of a longstanding regime. Sudan, however, so far seems to be an exception to this rule. A week after the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir and the assumption of power by a Transitional Council, Sudan has still not witnessed major armed clashes or bloodshed between regime proponents and opponents. This proves that the Sudanese people so far succeeded in toppling Bashir with minimal damage. Furthermore, the country’s military leadership has asked all political factions to collectively agree on a national figure who can assume the presidency. They also agreed to establish a civilian government during the transitional period. Sudan’s Transition Council has been able to consolidate the support of major Arab countries, which enabled it to bolster its international stance and avoid domestic turmoil. The Transitional Council also proved itself as an overarching body capable of managing Sudan in the interim, until power is handed over to an elected government. Of course, the most critical step in the process is still ahead, and many things can change on the ground. The real fear now is that the Sudanese opposition, which clearly did not expect the regime to fall so easily, will struggle to maintain order. There are sit-ins still going on in front of army headquarters. There is also the challenge of including a wide range of voices, from trade unions to political parties, in the country’s new leadership. The Transitional Council will therefore have to make some concessions in order to ensure long-term stability in Sudan. – Salman Al Dosari

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