KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — A leading reformist in Sudan’s ruling party said Saturday he will form his own party after being suspended for condemning the government’s recent crackdown on protests, the latest sign of growing disenchantment with the country’s government.
Ghazi Salah Eddin’s announcement follows a wave of violent protests in September after President Omar al-Bashir’s government decided to lift fuel subsidies nearly doubling prices on fuel products. Authorities violently cracked down on the ensuing protests, killing dozens.
Salah Eddin and other members of the ruling National Congress Party later signed a petition calling for reversing austerity measures and investigating the killings of protesters. In apparent retaliation, a committee in the ruling party decided Thursday to suspend nine of its members who signed the petition, including Salah Eddin, a former presidential adviser.
Salah Eddin announced his decision Saturday in a post on his personal Facebook page. He described his suspension as “arbitrary” and said it dealt a blow to reform efforts within the party.
“We have decided to propose the formation of a new party that will provide a respectable alternative and a new hope for Sudan,” Salah Eddin said.
It is not clear when the party will be officially formed. Attempts to reach Salah Eddin were unsuccessful Saturday night. There was no immediate response from the ruling party.
Salah Eddin has a support base among young Islamist youths, university students in Khartoum and other cities, and many in the country’s elite.
The September riots in some places turned into a call for the ouster of al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for more than two decades. Sudan lost most of its main oil-producing territory when South Sudan broke off and became an independent state in 2011. That came after a civil war plagued the country for decades.
Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on allegations linked to the conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have died since 2003 due to fighting between government-backed tribes and rebels.