Sudan’s prime minister announced on Thursday the formation of the first government since the overthrow of long-term ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
The government was formed as part of a three-year power-sharing deal signed last month between the military and civilian parties and protest groups.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced the names of 18 ministers in the new cabinet and said he would name two more later. The Cabinet includes four women, in an apparent acknowledgement of Sudanese women’s participation in the uprising.
Hamdok picked Asmaa Abdalla as the first woman to serve as foreign minister in Sudanese history. He also picked women to lead the Sports and Youth Ministry, the High Education Ministry, and the Labor and Social Development Ministry.
The prime minister, a respected former official with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, picked Ibrahim Elbadawi, a former World Bank economist, to as finance minister. Elbadawi holds a doctorate in economics and statistics from North Carolina State and Northwestern universities in the US.
The military has nominated Lt. Gen. Gamal Omar as defense minister and Idriss al-Traifi as interior minister.
“A new stage in Sudan’s history starts today,” Prime Minister Hamdok said at a news conference in the capital, Khartoum. “We are seeking an end to the war and (want to) achieve sustainable peace.”
Hamdouk attributed the delay in announcing the Cabinet to the keenness to represent all sections.
He said the Cabinet would “immediately” go to work on the top challenges facing the transitional administration, which include overhauling the ailing economy and achieving peace with armed groups.
Achieving peace would sharply reduce military spending, which takes up as much as 80% of the state budget, Hamdok said.
“If we could put an end to this (military spending), it would go to health and education,” he said.
“We started preparing for peace by forming a mini committee in consultation with the sovereign council and members of the ministerial council whose task is to establish a general framework for the formation of the peace commission, which is the first priority of the transitional period,” the prime minister said.
He added: "We aspire to build a productive national economy, as well as build state institutions.”
“We are committed to a foreign policy that takes Sudan’s interest first and foremost and is based on good neighborliness and working with friends, brothers and partners to build a world of democracy and human rights,” he said.
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