Sudan ruling party dissident forms ‘Reform Now Movement’
KHARTOUM - The leading dissident in Sudan's ruling party, who was expelled from the organisation last month, said on Wednesday he has formed a new "Reform" party which has attracted thousands of followers.
Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, ex-adviser to President Omar al-Bashir, also said that he does not rule out standing as a presidential candidate in 2015 elections, although he is "no Hercules".
Atabani said his Reform Now Movement has lodged an application with the registrar of political parties.
"We should be fully registered in three months," he said.
Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) in November ousted Atabani and two other high-profile members.
They were among more than 30 prominent NCP reformers who issued a memorandum to Bashir saying the government's response to September fuel price demonstrations betrayed its Islamic foundations.
The split by Atabani's group is the most serious defection from the ruling party since 2000 when the Islamist Hassan al-Turabi, a leading figure behind the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, broke away and formed the opposition Popular Congress.
Critics of Bashir's 24-year regime have become increasingly vocal since the government slashed fuel price subsidies, leading to the worst urban unrest of his rule.
Security forces are believed to have killed more than 200 demonstrators, Amnesty International said, but the government has given a toll of less than half that.
"Our supporters, who expressed their wish to become card-carrying members, are in their thousands so far," Atabani said in a written response to questions.