Opposition Party and Women’s Political Participation in Northern Sudan : A Case Study of the Umma Party

University essay from Växjö universitet/Institutionen för samhällsvetenskap


This thesis is a qualitative study based on interviews conducted in early 2007 and aims at getting an understanding of the political environment from an opposition party’s point of view in Northern Sudan.

The study is also trying to illustrate how good governance and democracy are building on each other and that good governance is a pre-requisite for democracy. In this perspective

Sudan has a long way to go. The main assumption is that women are key to good governance and internal democracy and a democratic society. If the party excludes women, it can not be representative, participatory or equitable and inclusive.

The thesis is therefore looking at the structures of one opposition party, the Umma Party, and women’s political participation in the party. This description is then analysed in light of Good Governance’s characteristics of participation, representativeness, equity and inclusiveness in the political society arena. The following questions were asked and answered:

• What are the basic features of the political environment within which Sudanese opposition parties operate?

• What are the leadership structures and decision making processes of the Umma Party in North Sudan?

• How do women access these structures and processes?

The main finding is that the Umma Party and Sudan do not fulfill the characteristics or the indicators to claim good governance or democracy – not within the party and not within the country.

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