Sudan's ruling National Congress is to hold a controversial meeting that will most likely be boycotted by the party's suspended secretary general, Hassan Turabi.
Abdel Rahim Ali, chairman of the NC's Consultative Council, told AFP that preparations had been made for the meeting, to be attended by most of the 560 NC members, and that until Saturday he had not been informed that Turabi and his supporters would boycott the meeting.
The meeting has been postponed several times, mainly due to a conflict between NC Chairman Omar Beshir and Turabi last December.
Proposals for lifting a state of emergency that is effective till the end of the year and reconsideration of an earlier resolution naming General Beshir as NC candidate for a second mandate in the presidential elections set for next October would top the meeting agenda, Ali said.
President Beshir, in his capacity as NC Chairman, has appealed to all CC members to attend the meeting, pledging to abide by its resolutions.
It has now become certain that Turabi's camp will not go to the CC meeting, which is to be convened at the Friendship Hall Monday morning.
"We have withdrawn our confidence in (CC Chairman) Abdel Rahim Ali because he has become biased (towards Beshir's camp) and unneutral," said suspended NC Deputy Secretary General Ali al-Haj Mohamed, Turabi's right hand.
He said in a conversation with AFP that the CC meeting was not for consultation but, rather for mobilizing support to Beshir.
"It is not a consultative meeting but something for rallying support to President Omar al-Beshir, a meeting designed to back up illegitimate resolutions that contradicted the Party's Basic Rules and the Constitution," Mohamed said.
He was referring to Beshir's resolutions passed removing Turabi from political and legislative offices in May.
Commenting on the CC Chairman's statement about a quorum, Mohamed dismissed this as "nonsense", arguing that a memorandum he handed Ali Saturday night contained signatures of 291 CC members who, in addition to others, are going to boycott the "illegitimate" meeting.
He said Beshir's camp would gather CC members who "contrary to the Basic Rules, have been appointed by the government".
Mohamed was referring to governors of the country's 26 states and NC secretaries of those states who have been appointed by President Beshir to replace elected ones who were supporters of Turabi.
Asked about whether they are going to establish a new party, Mohamed said they were "the original founders of the National Congress" and they regard Beshir and his supporters as "dissidents".
"It is logical that it is the dissidents who will establish a new party, not the original ones," said the suspended Deputy Secretary General.
"If they pressure on us with the force of arms and confiscate the name, we will naturally find another name for our party," Mohamed said.
However, he said they would wait for the outcome of Monday's meeting and "if it deviate from the Basic Rules, we will have our own party under the same name or, if pressured with the force of arms, will give it another name, such as the People's Congress, to distinguish it from the Government Congress" -- KHARTOUM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)