Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country.
In a televised address on Friday, Bashir also called on Sudan’s parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.
Acknowledging the popular protests that have rocked his administration in recent months, the 75-year-old said the “demands of our people for better living conditions are lawful”.
“I will not stop calling for all parties to sit at the dialogue table,” Bashir said, adding he would remain on the “side of the youth who represent the future of Sudan”.
According to aljazeera.com, Bashir’s announcement on Friday followed months of nearly daily protests against his rule, with thousands of people taking to the streets across the country since December 19 to call for him to stand down after nearly three decades in office.
While the protests were initially set off by the rising cost of bread and fuel in the north of Sudan, they quickly grew into a demand for more political freedom and an end to Bashir’s rule.
The Sudanese leader’s term ends in 2020 and he has repeatedly promised over the years not to make new runs for the presidency. Without amending the country’s constitution, he cannot run for a third term.