Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) approved a proposal on Tuesday aimed at amending its statute and extending the term of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir from four to five years.
NCP’s secretary of women’s affairs, Samia Ahmed Mohamed, told reporters in Khartoum that the proposal will be submitted to the Shura Council, the only organ entitled to amend the statute of the party.
Such amendment will mean the extension of Bashir’s leadership of the party for an additional year.
The ruling party is currently required to elect a new leader next year before the presidential election scheduled for May 2015.
The 68-year-old leader announced in March that he intends to step down in 2015, after rumours about his health following operations on his vocal cords in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Mohamed stressed that the extension will be implemented with immediate effect.
However, she denied that the step would be an attempt to allow Bashir to run for another mandate.
Bashir, who ruled the country for 23 years, said in March that “Sudanese people are looking for fresh blood and a new impetus”.
The party is divided on the issue, with some factions loudly demanding reforms to the party and reunification with Islamists factions, including Hassan Al-Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP).
Last November, Sudanese security services arrested some radical Islamist military accused of organising a coup d’état against the regime.