Elections for the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate launched in Khartoum on Saturday morning have been successfully concluded. The electoral committee has announced that Abdelmonim Abu Idris, who works for Agence France-Presse (AFP), has been democratically chosen as the new president of the Syndicate.
Voting began at 9:00 a.m. and continued until 6:00 p.m., amid strict police security measures. The head of the electoral commission, Feisal Mohamed Salih, announced in a press release after the vote count that Abu Idris obtained 205 votes out of a total of 659, including 63 electronic votes and 596 paper votes, while the votes canceled were 64.
Sudanese Journalists Network candidate Ayman Sangarab got 158 votes, Trade Press Alliance candidate Maisara Eisa Salem got 101 votes, while independent candidate Durra Gambo got 86 votes.
The election committee allowed journalists from inside and outside Sudan to vote electronically, in a precedent, the first of its kind in Sudan, in the elections in which seven candidates ran for the post of president.
The head of the electoral commission, Feisal Mohamed Salih, told the press in Khartoum on Friday that the number of participants eligible to vote is 1,100 journalists inside Sudan and 150 outside, stressing that this number represents 90% of working journalists. .
“This is the biggest democratic exercise in more than thirty years in the history of trade unions, and we have faced many obstacles,” he said.
The union is a voluntary organization represented by a general assembly and is based on international laws such as the International Labor Organization Convention ratified by Sudan and coming into force in 2021.
The Registrar General of Sudanese Trade Union Organizations had previously called the creation of the new journalists’ union “illegal” on the grounds that a union can only be formed on the basis of Sudan’s 2010 trade union law.
The Unified Bureau of Physicians denounced the decision of the General Register of Labor Organizations on the illegality of the creation of the Union of Journalists.
The office said in a statement on Friday that the Registrar General’s decision contradicts international conventions ratified by Sudan that uphold freedom to work and organize in March 2021.
The doctors noted that the 2010 law on trade unions “is part of a system of laws restricting the freedoms that the revolution was intended to overthrow, and poses a serious threat to the freedoms that the Sudanese people have obtained.
“We also call for strict resistance to all practices that target the freedom of professional organizations and trade unions,” the statement said.
The Sudanese Teachers Committee expressed its gratitude for the steps taken by the journalists in forming a trade union body for them. And announced its full support for the process.
The teachers said in a statement on Friday that the step taken by the journalists is based on the foundations and standards for trade unions set by the International Labor Organization, and comes after Sudan ratified it last year. It entered into force after being ratified by the transitional government last year.
“Therefore, there is no room for the broken rhetoric that supporters of the old regime hold on the illegality of these elections, noting that the general assemblies have the inherent right and that we will continue to support this step .”
Sudanese trade unions
The Sudanese trade unions, officially created in 1947, have always been well organized. They played a key role in the October 1964 revolution, which overthrew the dictatorship of Ibrahim Abboud, and the popular uprising against President Jaafar El Nimeiri in March 1985, when the people chose their leadership represented by the association union. For this reason, Al Bashir’s regime dissolved unions and other professional associations a year after seizing power in a military coup in June 1989 and created new unions with members affiliated with the new regime. .
When Al Bashir’s regime was overthrown and a transitional government was installed after a popular revolution, the civilian government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, which shared power with the army, dismantled unions affiliated with the regime in the context of legal reforms aimed at dismantling the former dictatorial regime.
However, now that the army is back in power after the October 25 coup against Hamdok, authorities are considering re-establishing many of these Al Bashir-affiliated unions. They did something similar after seizing power in the 2019 coup. The Sudanese Association of Professionals (SPA) then said it rejected “establishment unions”, explaining that “these unions are doing the contrary to real union work”.
Earlier this month, 27 groups of workers held a vigil outside the offices of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Khartoum to protest against the plans of the military government that took power in the October 25 to restore the legitimacy of the unions set up by the overthrown regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir.