August 10, 2018 / 12:27 PM / 7 days ago

Sudan's ruling party backs Bashir for 2020 election: SUNA

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan’s ruling party said on Friday it would back its leader President Omar al-Bashir as a candidate in the 2020 election, state news agency SUNA reported, a move that would require a constitutional amendment.

SudanÕs President Omar al-Bashir arrives to welcome South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit at Khartoum airport, Sudan November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Bashir, who has been in power for nearly 30 years and is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, has previously said he will step down in 2020 and has not explicitly stated his intention to run again.

“The Shura Council (of the National Congress party) recognized Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir as candidate for president in the 2020 election and has directed the relevant bodies to carry out the necessary measures for this,” SUNA reported.

Sudan’s constitution, amended in 2005, limits a president to two terms. Another change to the constitution would be required to allow Bashir to serve another term.

The Islamist and former army officer came to power via a military coup in 1989. He won elections in 2010 and 2015 after the constitution was changed following a peace agreement with southern rebels.

The ICC indicted Bashir in 2008 over killings and persecution in Sudan’s Darfur province between 2003 and 2008.

The United States lifted 20 years of economic sanctions against Sudan in October, but the country remains on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, which means a ban on weapons sales and restrictions on U.S. aid.

The country is in economic crisis, with the Sudanese pound’s value plummeting. Protests broke out over rising prices throughout the country in January. Sudan has struggled economically since the oil-rich south seceded in 2011.

On Friday, Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics said inflation had risen in July to an annual 63.94 percent.

Sudan’s opposition says Bashir must go to improve the country’s image abroad and attract crucial investment and aid.

Reporting by Ali Mirghani in Khartoum, Ahmed Tolba, John Davison, Khalid Abdelaziz in Cairo; Editing by Andrew Roche

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