Democratic Unionist Party (Sudan)

Democratic Unionist Party
الحزب الإتحادي الديموقراطي
Al Hizb Al-Ittihadi Al-Dimuqrati
Founder Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani, Ismail Al-Azhari
Founded 1952 (1952)
Merger of Khatmiyya Sufi order
Ashigga Party
Headquarters Khartoum, Sudan
Ideology Nationalism
Liberal conservatism
Sudanese reunification
Political position Centre-right[1]
National affiliation National Democratic Alliance
National Assembly of Sudan
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Council of States of Sudan
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Party flag
Flag of Sudan (1956–1970).svg

The Democratic Unionist Party (Arabic: الحزب الإتحادي الديموقراطي‎, romanizedal-Hizb al-Ittihadi al-Dimuqrati), also referred to by itself as the Original Democratic Unionist Party, is a political party in Sudan, closely tied to the Khatmiyya Sufi order.

Established in 1952 as the National Unionist Party (NUP), it is one of two political parties predating Sudan's independence, along the Umma Party. Founded by Mohammed Uthman al-Mirghani II's Khatmiyya order and Ismail al-Azhari's urban nationalist Ashigga Party (est. 1943), it is often considered Sudan's oldest political party.[2] Having won a clear majority in Sudan's first parliamentary election, al-Azhari became Sudan's first prime minister, who in 1955 declared independence from colonial rule.

The party broke apart in 1956, with the Khatmiyya order founding the new People's Democratic Party (PDP), but reunited in 1967, resulting in the current name. In 1986, DUP leader Ahmed al-Mirghani became President of Sudan until ousted by Omar al-Bashir's military coup in 1989. While the party's official leadership around Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani II remained in exile, the Khartoum-based Political Secretariat seceded in 2011, resulting in the rivalling the "Registered" Democratic Unionist Party led by Jalal al-Digair.


The party emerged in 1952 from the historic approach of the Khatmiyya Sufi order, founded in the first half of the 19th century by Mohammed Uthman al-Mirghani II, and Ismail al-Azhari's urban nationalist Ashigga Party, established in 1943.[3] In Sudan's first parliamentary election the NUP won a legislative majority, making al-Azhari the first Sudanese Prime Minister under British–Egyptian colonial rule.[2] On 19 December 1955, shortly after the First Sudanese Civil War had broken out, al-Azhari, declared the Independence of Sudan. Internal divisions between the al-Azhari faction and the Khatmiyya order however led to a split in 1956, with the Khatmiyya order founding the new People's Democratic Party (PDP). The party subsequently lost its majority, but remained a major political force even after General Abboud's short-lived 1958 coup d'état.

Al-Azhari and PDP leader Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani reunited in 1967/Dec in the presence of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Reestablished under the new name Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the party won the 1968 election and subsequently formed a coalition government with the Umma Party. The government's proposal of a basically Islamic constitution making Sudan a Muslim Arab state, however lead to Colonel Nimeiry's second coup d'état and the abolition of the parliament.

The party shortly returned to the political landscape in the 1986 election, where it won the largest number of votes though came second in number of seats having allowed too much freedom to its membership for constituency nominations. Ahmed al-Mirghani became President of Sudan, until ousted by Omar al-Bashir's 1989 military coup. Since then, the party's Chairman remained outside Sudan while allowing its members to freely decide on the degree of participation in central and state governments.[1] [4][5][6]


The party's main platform is in favour of a united Sudan, and previously Sudan and Egypt the downstream Nile River riparians.

The basic intellectual underpinnings of the party since its general congress in late 1960s, are: democratic pluralism politically, a mixed economy economically, and the establishment of a secular country towards as "the only acceptable way for peaceful coexistence in a country with different components of ethnic, tribal, religious, intellectual and cultural aspects in order to ensure the principle of that 'The sole basis of rights and duties should be based upon the Citizenship alone'."

The party has long-standing relations with the SPLM with whom it signed the Peace Deal of November 1988 in Ethiopia which was then opposed by the NIF party. It also enjoys good relationships with almost all the Sudanese political groups.

The last legislative elections, December 2000, were boycotted by the party, as most of the political groups, described as unfair and rigged.

Through the National Democratic Alliance it played a major role in the opposition to the NIF regime in Sudan during 1989-2005 until the signing of the Cairo Peace Agreement between the NDA and the government of Sudan. As a consequence of its stances the DUP has suffered continuous attempts to divide and weaken it by the Sudanese security forces and the ruling party of Sudan, which seem to have failed so far.

Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the SPLM and the government of Sudan, the party's position has shifted towards a more mediatory role attempting to re-align the old and new opposition parties in a comprehensive stance to tackle the broader Sudanese issues such as unity, elections and transition into democracy avoiding polarisation which it views as damaging to the long term interests of the country.

It continues to view the National Democratic Alliance as a long-term alliance that could rightly guide the political movement in Sudan.

Electoral history

Presidential elections

Election Party candidate Votes % Result
2010 Hatim al-Sir 195,668 1.93% Lost Red XN

National Assembly elections

National Assembly
Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/–
1953 Ismail al-Azhari 229,221 Not released
51 / 97
Increase 51
1958 Ismail al-Azhari Not released Not released
45 / 173
Decrease 6
1965 Ismail al-Azhari Not released Not released
59 / 207
Increase 14
1968 Ismail al-Azhari 742,226 40.8%
101 / 218
Increase 63
1986 Ahmed al-Mirghani 1,163,961 29.5
63 / 301
Increase 63
2010 Hatim al-Sir Not released Not released
2 / 426
Increase 2
2015 Not released Not released
25 / 426
Increase 23


  1. ^ a b Tom Lansford, ed. (2014). "Democratic Unionist Party". Political Handbook of the World 2014. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: CQ Press. pp. 1368 f. ISBN 978-1-4833-3328-1.
  2. ^ a b John Pike. "Democratic Unionist Party [DUP]". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  3. ^ MacEoin, Denis; Al-Shahi, Ahmed. Islam in the Modern World (RLE Politics of Islam).
  4. ^ "Joint Statement on Elections in Sudan" (Press release). Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Norway). 20 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
  5. ^ "Troika statement on elections in Sudan" (Press release). Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
  6. ^ "Joint Statement on Elections in Sudan" (Press release). United States Department of State. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-28.

External links