4 Aug 2020

Popular Congress

(al-Mu'tamar al-Sha’bi)

The PC was founded as the Popular Congress Party (PCP), renamed the Popular Congress in 2000 when it split off from the ruling National Congress. It is led by Sheikh Hassan Al Turabi who holds a PhD in law from the Sorbonne in Paris. Already in the early 1960s he joined Sudan's Muslim Brothers Organisation, which was founded in 1952 by students of the University of Khartoum as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood Organisation of Egypt led by Hassan Al Banna. During the overthrow of the Abboud military regime through a popular uprising in 1964 Turabi led the brotherhood’s party, the Islamic Charter Front (ICF), to a prominent role. In the elections of 1965 and 1968 it won a number of seats, primarily amongst student constituencies. After the 1969 “socialist” May Revolution of Jafar Nimeri the ICF was banned and persecuted like all parties but following Nimeri’s policy of “national reconciliation” in 1977 the activists of the dissolved ICF re-entered the political stage with Turabi taking over the influential position of attorney general. However, shortly before the 1985 ousting of Nimeri Dr. Turabi and other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were imprisoned.

In the elections of 1986 the ICF-successor National Islamic Front (NIF) won the third largest number of seats. In 1988 Dr. Turabi served first as minister of justice and then as minister of foreign affairs as well as deputy prime minister in a coalition government with the Umma party . However, in early 1989 the NIF was ousted from the coalition under pressure from the army.

After the military takeover of June 1989 Dr. Turabi and fellow leaders were imprisoned again but soon joined the “National Salvation Revolution” (Ingaz) of General Omar Al Bashir, playing a crucial role in designing the new government’s Islamic policies. In 1996 Dr. Turabi was elected Speaker of the National Assembly and in 1998 secretary-general of the National Congress party (NCP) , which evolved out of the NIF. However, in 1999 he was ousted from these positions over differences with the government. Subsequently he and his supporters founded the Popular Congress Party (PCP). Since then he and his fellow party leaders have been repeatedly arrested or placed under house arrest. Yet the PC has remained one of the most vociferous opponents of the ruling NCP. In 2001 senior PC representatives signed a memorandum of understanding with the rebel SPLM. When NCP and SPLM signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) the PC rejected to participate in the power sharing deal claiming that the 14% of the parliamentary seats allocated to opposition parties were unfair. The PC publishes its own newspaper, Rai al-Shaab.

In its Basic Order the BC describes itself as “a broad national democratic party” which is not based upon regionalism or sectarianism and moreover as “a social organisation”. It states that it is “guided by the unitarian doctrine of devotion to God”. At the same time it emphasizes the democratic and pluralist dimensions of its renewalist-fundamentalist Islamic vision. In its General Programme the PC declares: “It is inappropriate for the purpose of religion or the authority of believers to restrain the freedoms of the people, while God has created them free, even as to their choice of belief in Him.”

Official website: http://www.popularcongress.org/toppage1.htm/

Information Source: www.electionnaire.org

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