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On BBC's website, there'a an article entitled Sudan crisis: What you need to know. Some of what's said in there sounds kind of off to me.

So, a protest movement has pushed the military leadership to oust president Al-Bashir a while ago. But - the protests continued, demanding a transfer of authority to civilian entities. So far, makes sense.

But that article also says that the Transitional Military Council, which is in power, agreed with the Alliance for Freedom of Change, supposedly representing the protesters, on a three-year transition period before elections are held, with the reason being that

Demonstrators argue that Mr Bashir's regime is so deeply entrenched that a long transition is needed to dismantle his political network and allow fair elections.

This sounds suspicious. I don't see how protesters would be interested in three years under military oligarchy, nor how that period will "clean up" suspended civilian authorities. It sounds more like an opportunity to wear out popular motivation for change and allow for the military and the previous civilian authorities to kind of merge. But of course - I'm not familiar with the details of the situation in the Sudan.

Now, it's understandable that some period of time is necessary for hereto-suppressed political organizations to form, for the elections procedure to be set up (and negotiated), etc. - but that does not translate to anything close to three years.

So what's actually supposed to happen, concretely, during that period?

2

Why would the Sudanese protest movement insist on a 3-year period before elections?

Short Answer

To prevent Sudan from devolving into chaos and risk more Protestor deaths.

Long Answer

There is one key detail that is in a similar BBC article not mentioned in your question. I will include your part, then put in bold my part:

The long transition period is seen as a victory for the pro-democracy movement - the generals had threatened a snap election after the 3 June crackdown, during which more than 120 people were reportedly killed, with many of the dead dumped in the River Nile.

Demonstrators argued that Mr Bashir's regime was so deeply entrenched that it would take time to dismantle its political network and open the way for free and fair elections.

The part in bold really provided the willingness to delay elections. By achieving this demand, the protestors accomplish two things:

  1. The military can no longer use the threat of a snap election while the country is in chaos (thus making it difficult to secure an election) as a means to coerce protestors to their side.
  2. The chaos settles and protestors no longer have to die for #1 to happen.

Number 2 is the real motivator here, after the massacre on June 3rd, the negotiation process stopped, and several Sudanese citizens thought that Sudan would devolve into a situation like Libya:

Osman Mirghani, a Sudanese analyst and the editor of the daily newspaper al-Tayar, said resuming negotiations offers the only hope of avoiding the “Libya model.”

“If the impasse continues, Sudan could become a new Libya, which means a set of militias control parts of the county and each militia has its government.”

Sudanese novelist Hamour Zyada blamed the impasse on the military, calling it a threat to the country’s peace and stability.

“In the near future, I am not optimistic. I do not expect that the military council will relinquish its grip on power,” he said. “But at the far future, I am optimistic. The public mood is with the civilian state and the revolution.”

The fear of devolving into chaos was enough to secure any kind of orderly deal, even if it meant giving power to a general for 21 months, before giving it to civilian rule for the remaining 18 months.

  • 1
    @PeterTaylor I edited the question to include the full context of the deal: 21 months rule by a general, 18 by civilian, in that order. – isakbob Sep 6 at 13:07

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