Leading Sudanese politician and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi has died from a coronavirus infection three weeks after being hospitalised in the United Arab Emirates
The death was confirmed by family sources and a party statement early Thursday.
The 84-year old was Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister and was overthrown in 1989 in the military coup that brought former president Omar al-Bashir to power.
Mahdi’s Umma Party was one of the largest opposition parties under Bashir, and he remained an influential figure even after he was toppled in 1989 by Bashir.
The former Premier was briefly hospitalized in Sudan last month after contracting Covid-19 and was later transferred to the UAE for treatment.
The Umma Party issued a statement saying a date and location for the burial of Mahdi, who was also the head of a Sufi Muslim sect, would be forthcoming.
Mahdi had returned to Sudan in December 2018, following a year-long self-exile, just as protests over worsening economic conditions and Bashir’s rule gathered steam. His daughter Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, deputy leader of the Umma Party, was among those detained during the demonstrations.
Mariam is set to be named as the successor to the party head since she has been the most visible party leader in political negotiations in recent years.
Mahdi will be remembered for pushing for a transfer to civilian rule after the military forced Bashir out of power.