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The failure of Westminster Democracy in Sudan….! (3-4)

Dr. Elshafie Khidir Saeid

This is part three of a four parts article that tries to discuss the thesis on what is the best and the most suitable political system for Sudan. Actually and specifically we are exploring here only one component of the political system, the form or model of the democratic practice that is compatible with the peculiar characteristics of the objective reality of the Sudanese society. We all know that Sudan inherited the Westminster model of democracy from the British colonial era, and it has been practicing it throughout all three democratic periods in the country.

In the article, I am discussing the hypothesis that says Westminster democracy was and is not suitable for independent Sudan. I am not saying that the Westminster democracy is not valid per se, nor that democracy, in general, is not suitable for Sudan, but what I am trying to say is that the Sudanese ground of today, unlike the other western countries, is not yet conducive for this specific model of democracy, the Westminster pluralistic, and we can’t copy & paste it in Sudan. I highlighted many arguments drawn up from the political history of Sudan to prove this hypothesis. As we have discussed in the previous two parts of this article, Sudan has been trying, for three times since its independence, to cope with the Westminster democracy: after the independence, after the 1964 popular revolution, and after the 1985 popular uprising. The resultant of all these three trials was a big failure..!

Hence, and because of this failure, a very important question was raised: If the above-mentioned hypothesis is proved to be correct, then what is the compatible alternative?

In this regard, our main assumption is that Sudan needs to create qualitative additions to the pluralist democracy that could deepen its content and give it a new form & shape that is compatible with the very diversified ethnic, social & cultural components of the country. We summarized some of these qualitative additions in political and parliamentary system reform, building a civic state which is separated from the religion, making a balance between the influence of the traditional sectarian forces and the aspirations of the new modern forces who are always the spearhead of the social change, putting as a top priority the genuine demands of the marginalized areas & the various ethnic groups…etc.

I think, and as proofed from the lessons of our history, all the above-mentioned issues which are characterizing the Sudanese social reality cannot be addressed or resolved by adopting the model of the pluralistic liberal democracy as practiced in the western industrial countries which are more advanced & developed compared to Sudan. What is needed in Sudan is to exert more theoretical and intellectual efforts to come up with theses on new forms & models of democratic practices that preserve the essence of liberal democracy and at the same time address those issues related to the peculiarities of our developing society. Such new forms and models are not necessarily taken from the repository of history since the peoples’ creative potential has no limits..!

Besides, peoples store in their conscious many experiences that are strongly and closely connected with the forms & models of Direct Democracy, even at the village, clan, or tribe level. I believe that these experiences can be directed towards crystallizing the forms & models of democratic practice appropriate to the concrete reality of these peoples, while at the same time preserving the essence of democracy established & institutionalized by liberalism.

(To be continued…)

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