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What the Post-Coup Agreement Means for Sudan’s Democratic Transition

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In the weeks following the October 25 coup in Sudan there were numerous reports that the military was looking to name a civilian prime minister to head up the military’s refashioned government. Always high up on the list of candidates was the current transitional prime minister, Abdallah Hamdok, whom the military kept under house arrest while most of the rest of the cabinet and hundreds of other civilian government officials remained in detention.

The November 21 agreement between Lt. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Hamdok appears to be the culmination of the military’s efforts, thereby creating the appearance of continuity in civilian leadership. Acknowledging that the agreement is not optimal, Hamdok has justified the deal as a way to defuse the political standoff following the coup without further loss of life.

While many details remain unclear, as currently stands, the agreement would represent a validation for the military coup. It would also signify a startling turnabout for the military, which has been facing widespread domestic condemnation, escalating popular protests, and international isolation, including the revoking of aid and debt relief. In fact, it was becoming increasingly apparent that the military could not sustain the coup—politically or economically—and would need to find a way to walk back their extralegal action.

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