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Abdallah is a noted Islamic scholar hailing from Southern Sudan. He hails from a Dinka family, and is a relative of John Garang. An Arabic language teacher, Abdallah graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo.
He served as Minister of Religious Affairs in the Sudanese government, but in a 1993 cabinet reshuffle he was moved to the position of Minister of Peace and Reconstruction (with the nominal task to rebuild Southern Sudan). As part of his new ministerial responsibilities, he also overtook the role of Ali al-Hajj Mohammed in representing the Sudanese government in negotiations with the Sudan People's Liberation Army. In 1994 he was appointed as the governor of the While Nile state. He also served as parliamentary whip and Minister of Youth and Sports. When the National Congress Party split in 1999/2000, Abdallah sided with Hassan al-Turabi.
Abdallah was the candidate of the Popular Congress Party in the 2010 Sudanese presidential election. He was the deputy party chief at the time. His candidature was supported by 26,000 collected signatures. Abdallah was the sole Southerner in the fray in amongst the presidential candidates. In his campaign vowed to reduce poverty by fighting corruption and improving health, sanitation and education services. He expressed hope that through his candidature he would be able to convince Southerners to vote against separation in the upcoming referendum. Moreover he stated that his party did not wish to enforce Islamic laws in Southern Sudan.
At the time of the elections the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram wrote that Abdallah was "... a seasoned politician who is relatively young and has an enormous political following among both southerners and northerners. He is renowned for being a devout Muslim, albeit a moderate one and a man who is widely seen as a pragmatic and a democrat in political circles." Commenting on Abdallah's candidature, the party leader al-Turabi stated that the Popular Congress Party wished to show that it was open to all Sudanese regardless of race or ethnicity. The presidential candidate of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, Yasir Arman, welcomed the nomination of Adballah, saying that the nomination broke the stereotype of Northerners vs. Southerners. Abdallah obtained 396,139 votes (3.9% of the national vote). Following the election Adballah alleged that the governing party had rigged the polls.
|Western Bahr el Ghazal||12,612||8.28%|
|Northern Bahr el Ghazal||8,090||3.23%|
|Out of country||758||1.11%|
In July 2013, Abdallah was appointed Minister of Electricity, Dams, Irrigation and Water Resources in the South Sudanese government. A few days later he was appointed Minister of Environment in yet another reshuffle. President Salva Kiir dismissed him from his post on November 26, 2013. Abdallah had been involved in a physical fight with a Member of Parliament the week before.
- Sudan Tribune. Salva Kiir dismisses environment minister after fight
- Reuters. CORRECTED - FACTBOX-Sudan's main presidential candidates
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- Al-Ahram. Second best choice Archived March 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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- "Sudan Islamists name presidential candidate", AFP, January 2, 2010.
- Radio Miraya. SPLM welcomes nomination of Abdallah Deng Nhial for President of Sudan Archived 2013-10-18 at the Wayback Machine
- Dagne, Theodore S. Sudan The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement. [Washington, D.C.]: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2010. p. 2
- BBC News. Sudan opposition claims video shows election fraud
- European Union. Election Observation Mission to Sudan - Executive and Legislative Elections 2010
- reliefweb.int. South Sudan’s Kiir names new cabinet, leaves out VP post
- gurtong.net. President Kiir Reshuffles New Cabinet, Ministries Increased
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