Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese President, will swear in today Hassan Saleh, as prime minister. It should be noted that the position was newly created following the amendment of the country’s constitution.
Saleh had been Al-Bashir’s first vice president. As prime minister, Saleh will also form a new cabinet.
Saleh’s appointment is seen at presents the clearest sign that Al-Bashir intends for him to one day take over. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has undergone heart surgery in recent weeks, raising questions over who would succeed him.
Bashir, while leading an Islamist party, also has the military’s loyalty as a one-time officer which strengthens his position and raises doubts over a civilian succeeding him, especially as conflicts between government forces and various armed rebel groups go on.
Saleh, a retired army general, is a former defence, interior and presidential affairs minister. He currently serves as first vice president and National Congress Party deputy leader for executive affairs.
It is the first time Sudan has had a prime minister since Bashir came to power in a 1989 Islamist and military-backed coup. Saleh is the last member of the group of officers that launched the coup to remain at Bashir’s side.
“The party leadership meeting chaired by President Bashir approved the nomination of Hassan Saleh as prime minister and his retention of the post of first vice president,” said ruling National Congress Party Deputy Leader Ibrahim Mahmoud.
Sudan’s constitution was amended in December to introduce the position of prime minister, a demand of opposition parties that took part in a national dialogue with the government, with the aim of distributing some of the presidency’s extensive powers.
Bashir agreed to the proposal but reserved most executive authority for himself. Saleh is now seen as the strongest contender to succeed Bashir if he keeps his promise of not running for re-election in 2020. According to NAN.