On April 11, the Sudanese military carried out a takeover against President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s dictator for the past 30 years. The military takeover came after months of popular protests, with citizens demanding a democratic transition.
General Awad Ibn Auf, an ally of Bashir’s, became president — but just for a day. On April 12, Ibn Auf bowed out as the protests continued. Lt. General Abdel-Fattah Burhan then assumed power.
Despite ousting two autocrats in two days, it’s unclear whether Sudan will transition to democracy in the near term. Here are four things to know about the political situation:
1. Popular mobilization against Bashir intensified over the past four months
Last week’s sudden shifts came amid widespread popular dissatisfaction with Bashir — some of it long-standing. The International Criminal Court accused Bashir of overseeing a genocide in Darfur, in Western Sudan, beginning in 2003. He oversaw a war against what is now South Sudan; this ultimately led to South Sudan’s secession in 2011. More recently, the regime has been fighting conflicts in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
These internal wars have had consequences for the country’s economy, including for citizens living outside conflict zones. Fighting wars is expensive. And with South Sudan’s secession, Sudan lost much of its oil revenue and its steady source of foreign reserves. The regime was endemically corrupt as Bashir tried to co-opt rival elites through state resources.
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