Country Risk

Sudanese president's nomination for 2020 poll confirms prospects of extended term, reducing likelihood of contested succession

16 August 2018

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir waves to the crowd in El Fasher, in North Darfur, during a campaign rally for the 2015 presidential election, 8 April 2015. Source: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

Key Points

  • The National Congress Party (NCP)’s nomination of President Omar al-Bashir to stand for re-election in 2020 is most likely designed to entrench his legitimacy and lend early support to his bid for re-election.
  • Should Bashir stand for re-election, as appears likely given his acceptance of the nomination, he is highly likely to win, given the opposition’s inability to rally support. The likelihood of a military-led coup remains low.
  • Foreign financial support, mainly from Gulf countries, will be essential for Bashir to reduce the risk of economically motivated protests.


On 10 August the consultative council of the Sudanese ruling National Congress Party (NCP) designated incumbent president Omar al-Bashir as the party’s only candidate for the 2020 presidential election.

In a previous statement on 16 November 2017, President Omar al-Bashir had announced that he would step down before the 2020 presidential election, but he retracted this statement shortly afterwards.

Key hurdles for a third term

Two key conditions apply for Bashir to stand for a third presidential term. Firstly, his re-election requires a constitutional referendum to remove term limits. Parliament must amend Article 57 of the Constitution, which limits the presidential tenure of office to two five-year terms. In addition, reflecting the constitutional requirement, Article 36 of the National Congress Party (NCP)’s own statutes also limits the presidential office to two terms. However, this cap had already been revoked unanimously by the NCP's consultative council (Shura) on Bashir’s nomination.

Bashir's nomination was met by opposition from opposition parties, mainly the National Umma Party (NUP) led by Saddiq al-Mahdi, and to a significantly lower extent, from Bashir’s own party, the NCP.

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