Sudan on verge of collapse: ruling party reformer

Sudan is on the verge of collapse, a leading reformer in the ruling party said on Monday after his party membership was suspended following criticism of a deadly protest crackdown.

Despite the disciplinary action against him, former presidential adviser Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani told AFP the reformers will not back down.

Atabani was the lead signatory on a letter by 31 prominent National Congress Party (NCP) reformers to President Omar al-Bashir.

They said the government's response to the late-September demonstrations over fuel price hikes betrayed the regime's Islamic foundations.

The reformers made a series of recommendations, including for an independent probe of the shooting of civilians during the protests, but they instead found themselves under investigation by a party committee.

Asked by AFP whether his party membership had been suspended, Atabani said: "I did receive a letter this morning from the committee to that effect."

But he said the committee's decisions are "null and void" because it was not formally established by the NCP.

"It is more significant though to note the huge importance the NCP leadership is attaching to this minor internal issue at a time when the country is on the verge of collapse," Atabani said.

Thousands of people, many of them Khartoum-area poor, took to the streets after September 23 when the government cut fuel subsidies, forcing retail prices up by more than 60 percent.

The protests and their Arab Spring-inspired calls for the downfall of the regime were the worst urban unrest of Bashir's 24-year rule, with dozens killed.