A new report from the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Sudan: No Easy Ways Ahead, contains essays by leading Sudanese scholars and analysts of Sudan.
Towards the end of the six-year interim period defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Sudan is potentially sliding into yet another crisis. The general elections in April – the first in 24 years – represent a rare test of confidence for the country’s incumbent elites. For many observers, however, the elections are merely a prelude to the referendum on the future status of South Sudan scheduled for early 2011.
Both the general elections and the referendum come at the end of a transitional period that has, in many ways, been more about stagnation than about transition. The implementation of the CPA has often been delayed and was marred by a lack of trust between its signatories: the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). As a consequence, the agreement has largely failed to realize democratic transformation and to make the unity of the country attractive. Instead, political tensions in the run-up to the elections indicate that older conflicts still persist, and that the referendum will only reconfigure challenges. The already fragile situation could easily trigger a new outbreak of violence. It is therefore of the utmost urgency to prepare for the post-CPA period in Sudan. In discussions about the future of the country, and in the day-to-day business of diplomats and international observers, the perspective beyond 2011 has only recently started to receive attention. Not all events of the coming years are fully predictable, of course. Yet it is possible to delineate potential scenarios, and to identify the political options they open up for different actors