Sudan in three-day mourning after death of former PM Mahdi

Sadiq al-Mahdi

Sudan's former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi who died from Covid-19 on November 26, 2020.

Photo credit: File | AFP

Sudan has declared three days of national mourning after former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi died from Covid-19 complications.

The Transitional Council of Ministers said on Thursday flags will be lowered at all state facilities, institutions and Sudanese embassies as a sign of respect for al-Mahdi, the leader of the Umma Party. Al-Mahdi, 84, was the last democratically elected prime minister in Sudan before he was toppled in 1989 by a military coup led by Omar al-Bashir.

Al-Mahdi was born in Abbasiya, Omdurman, and after the death of his father, Siddiq al-Mahdi in 1961, he assumed the leadership of the Ansar Movement and the leadership of the United National Front, a coalition led by the Umma Party.

Al-Mahdi comes from an ancient political family. His great-grandfather, Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi, founded the Mahdist Movement.

2017 coalition

He obtained a master’s degree in economics from Oxford University in 1957. He headed the opposition “Sudan Call” coalition in 2017, which included the civil society and armed movements.

After being toppled by al-Bashir, al-Mahdi remained a vocal opposition leader throughout the three decades. Bashir was toppled last year and is facing trial for his role in the 1989 coup.

The head of the Transitional Sovereign Council in Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said the country had lost an icon with the death of Al-Mahdi, a national symbol.

Al-Burhan tweeted that Imam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi had remained loyal to his homeland throughout his life.

Ambassador Robert van den Dool, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan, tweeted: “Today is a sad day for Sudan. The European Union and its member states’ embassies express their sincere condolences to the people and government of Sudan, to the members and the supporters of the Umma National Party on the death of HE Al-Imam Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi, the former Prime Minister of Sudan.”

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