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President of Sudan unveils new government after calls for reform

KHARTOUM--Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday replaced his two vice presidents and unveiled a partially new cabinet after urgent calls for reform in the 24-year-old regime.

The changes come less than a week after leading ruling party dissident Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani said he had launched a new “Reform” party relying on youth support that has attracted thousands of supporters.

It is the most serious split in years within Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP), which has faced internal criticism over alleged corruption and stagnant leadership.

The “big changes” announced Sunday “were meant to bring forward experienced youth,” NCP deputy chairman Nafie Ali Nafie said, according to the Sudanese Media Center (SMC) which is close to the security apparatus.

Nafie himself is stepping down from his post as Bashir's adviser and assistant, to be replaced by senior NCP member Ibrahim Ghandour, officials said.

Other regime stalwarts who lost their jobs are top vice president Ali Osman Taha and oil minister Awad Ahmad al-Jaz.

Bakri Hassan Saleh, a former interior and defense minister, replaces Taha while Hassabo Mohammed Abdel Rahman becomes second vice president, senior party official Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid told AFP.

“Yes, confirmed,” Ebaid said of the appointments.

Saleh was presidential affairs minister in the cabinet which Bashir dismissed last week ahead of the reshuffle.

Abdel Rahman had been the NCP's political secretary.

But Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein keeps his job, party officials told a press conference at NCP headquarters.

Both Hussein and Bashir are wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

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