The political history of Sudan since its independence in 1956 can be divided into two phases with distinctive features and dynamics: the first phase lasted from 1956 to the military coup of 1989, and the second phase from the beginning of Omar al-Bashir’s rule in June 1989 until the popular uprisings that unseated him in April 2019. The first phase witnessed alternating periods of civilian and military rule with a clear predominance of military dictatorship (Table 1). The two popular revolts that put an end to military regimes in October 1964 and April 1985 led to short-lived civilian governments that collapsed rapidly because of paralyzing political struggles and fatal inefficiency.

Table 1: Forms of Government in Sudan
1956 – 1958 Civilian governments under Prime Ministers Ismail al-Azhari of the DUP and Abdallah Khalil of the NUP
1958 – 1964 Military rule under Major General Ibrahim Abboud
1964 – 1969 Civilian governments headed by the NUP
1969 – 1985 Military regime of Colonel Jaafar al-Nimeiry
 1986- 1985 Transitional period led by General Abdal-Rahman Siwar al-Dahab
1986 – 1989 Civilian governments headed by Sadiq al-Mahdi of the NUP
1989 – 2019 Military regime led by Omar al-Bashir