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December 14, 2018

Sudan MPs back President Bashir for third term

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (R)  talks to Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir after signing a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement with South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar in Khartoum, Sudan. August 5, 2018. /REUTERS
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (R) talks to Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir after signing a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement with South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar in Khartoum, Sudan. August 5, 2018. /REUTERS

Sudanese MPs have backed a move to amend the constitution to allow President Omar al-Bashir to run for a third term in 2020 elections.

Unless the constitution is changed, Mr Bashir, who came to power in a coup in 1989, will not be allowed to stand again - as a two-term limit was introduced in 2005.

Parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omar said he had received a letter signed by a majority of lawmakers backing an amendment that would extend the limit.

He said it came from 33 parties representing 294 deputies.

"I will abide by the constitutional and legal steps and the regulations necessary to discuss these amendments in parliament for it to take any decision on them," Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.

The proposed constitutional changes would also give the president the power to sack elected governors.

Mr Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and genocide in the western province of Darfur. He denies the allegations.

In 2016, he told the BBC he would step down in 2020.

According to Reuters, a proposal to amend the Constitution should be submitted by the president or via a memorandum submitted by at least one-third of the members of the 581-seat Parliament.

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