28 Nov 2020

Democratic Unionist Party

(Al Hizb Al-Ittihadi Al-Dimuqrati)

The DUP is the oldest political party in Sudan with origins dating back to the first half of the 19th century when the Khatmiyya Sufi order (tariqa) was founded by Mohamed Osman Al Mirghani who traced his lineage to the prophet Mohamed.

In 1943 Ismail Al Azhari, a professor of mathematics, and other Khatmiyya followers founded its predecessor, the urban-based Ashiqqa Party, which in 1952 was transformed into the secularist National Unionist Party (NUP). After a massive victory in the elections of 1953 Azhari became the first Sudanese prime minister under Anglo-Egyptian colonial rule. He led Sudan into independence in 1956.

Following the military takeover of 1958 the NUP was disbanded like all other parties but remained active in opposition. When the Abboud regime was overthrown Azhari was elected head of state (1965-1969), while the NUP entered into coalition governments with the Umma Party . In 1967 the NUP merged with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) of Ali Abdel Rahman to form the DUP.

After the "socialist" May Revolution of 1969 the DUP was again dissolved like all other parties under the one-party rule of Jafar Nimeri but continued its opposition under the exiled leadership of Sherif El Hindi, a former minister. In 1978 the DUP entered with other parties into a national reconciliation with the Nimeri regime. However, with the country increasingly sliding into crises and the outbreak of the second civil war the DUP with other parties entered into a dialogue with the SPLM/A.

After the overthrow of Nimeri in 1985 the DUP soon reentered the political stage. In the 1986 parliamentary elections it won the second largest number of seats and agreed to participate in Sadiq Al Mahdi's (Umma) coalition government. The DUP's deputy head and Khatmiyya leader Ahmed Al Mirghani, a great-grandson of the order's founder, became president of the republic. In 1988 the party's leadership concluded its dialogue with the Southern rebels of the SPLM/A by signing the Sudanese Peace Initiative that was to freeze the draconic "September Laws", which Nimeri had introduced under the label of Sharia in 1983. Following the military takeover of 1989 the DUP went into opposition. It was one of the founding members of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an umbrella of parties opposed to the "National Salvation Revolution" of General Omar Al Bashir and DUP leader Mohamed Osman al Mirghani became NDA chairman.

When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the NCP dominated Khartoum government and the rebel SPLM/A ended the war in the South in 2005 Mirghani signed a political reconciliation agreement that included a power sharing deal. Mohamed Osman Al Mirghani returned to Sudan from exile in Egypt in 2008 upon the funeral of his brother, the former head of state. The DUP stresses its "commitment to the principles of tolerant Islam, which is based on justice, equality and social solidarity... with full respect for all religions and beliefs and customs". It promotes "securing the unity of the country's land and people". In foreign policy it particularly aims at close relations with neighbouring Egypt.

Official Website (Arabic only): http://www.dupsudan.org

Information Source: www.electionnaire.org

State Information