Members of Sudan’s new government took an oath before President Omar Al-Bashir on Saturday, amidst criticisms by opposition groups regarding the government’s inaction and lack of change in many of the ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) old leaders.
Criticisms have also been made regarding the symbolic presence of opposition figures in parliament, amid a series of crises in the country. These crises include growing political and economic fractures and the continuation of armed conflicts across the country.
Sudanese Minister of Information Abdallah Masar defended the current makeup of the government — the first since South Sudan’s secession— which has been four months in the making and brings together 60 ministers. He stated that it is a broad-based government that upholds political partnership and unity.
Masar, a member of the National Umma Party (NUP) that is in alliance with the ruling NCP, stated that “The priorities of the new government will aim to ensure that peace and security are guaranteed in the country.” He referred to the conflict taking place in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile state, in addition to, the growing economic crisis.
“Peace has to be consolidated in Darfur,” he explained, while also promising to ensure greater regional cooperation with Sudan’s neighbouring nations.
Masar also called for the need to not place hasty judgements on the new government for the time being, but rather allow ministers to fully take up their posts.
Eleven NCP ministers have retained their positions in the ministries of defense, interior, foreign affairs, petroleum, justice, finance, higher education, science and technology, minerals, electricity and dams, agriculture and labour.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has taken on three portfolios: the ministry of commerce, the council of ministers, and the ministry of youth and sports.
Breakaway factions of the DUP and the NUP were given six portfolios. Four members are also members of the breakaway faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).