Could Sudan's new foreign minister be a woman?

Could Sudan's new foreign minister be a woman?
Asma Mohammed Abdullah, a former ambassador at the foreign ministry, was among three officials nominated by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdouk to fill the FM post.

3 min read
02 September, 2019
Two women have been sworn in to the new council [AFP]
A woman could soon take position as foreign minister of Sudan, sources told The New Arab, as the country's prime minister pushes for representation in the new government.

Asma Mohammed Abdullah, a former ambassador at the foreign ministry was among three officials nominated by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdouk to fill the FM post.

The move, if completed, could see for the first time a woman representing Sudan as foreign minister.

But Abdullah is no stranger to breaking boundaries. She was one of the first Sudanese women to serve in the diplomatic corps before changing roles with the inauguration of the now-former President Omar al-Bashir.

Hamdouk nominated a number of women to fill a range of ministerial positions, the sources told The New Arab, praising the new PM's push to provide representation for women in the government.

Last month, a Coptic Christian woman was named as the second woman to fill the 11-member Sudan sovereign council just a day before the new council was sworn in.

Aisha Musa Saeed was announced as a member of the council after generals and protest leaders agreed on the Coptic Christian woman's nomination.

She is one of the 11 members of Sudan's ruling body, made up of six civilians and five soldiers as the country transitions into democracy.

Aisha is currently a judge and studied as a translator at the University of Leeds in the UK.

A meeting to discuss the nominations is due to be held in the capital Khartoum on Monday and the final line-up will be announced on Tuesday, Kamal Boulad, a leader in the Declaration of Freedom and Change, who chairs the meetings, told The New Arab.

Sudan swore in a new sovereign council and appointed a prime minister in August, replacing the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took charge after months of deadly street protests brought down longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.

The first steps of the transition after the mass celebrations that marked the 17 August adoption of a transitional constitution proved difficult however.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who already headed the TMC, was sworn in as the chairman of the new sovereign council.

He will be Sudan's head of state for the first 21 months of the 39-month transition period, until a civilian takes over for the remainder.

The establishment of the civilian-dominated ruling council was welcomed by Khartoum residents but some warned the people would keep their new rulers in check.

"If this council does not meet our aspirations and cannot serve our interests, we will never hesitate to have another revolution," said Ramzi al-Taqi, a fruit seller.

"We would topple the council just like we did the former regime," he said.

Sudan's new rulers are expected to push for the lifting of the suspension from the African Union that followed a crackdown on a sit-in in June, which left over 100 protesters dead.

The ruling council will also seek to have the country removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Restoring stability to a country still plagued by deadly unrest in the regions of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile will be one of the most urgent tasks of Sudan's transitional institutions.

The other daunting challenge that awaits the fragile civilian-military alliance is the rescue of an economy that has all but collapsed in recent years.

It was the sudden tripling of bread prices in December 2018 that sparked the wave of protests fatal to Bashir's regime.

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