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SudanÕs President Omar Hassan al-Bashir speaks during a press conference after the oath of the prime minister and first vice president Bakri Hassan Saleh at the palace in Khartoum, Sudan March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah - RC13F1165740(reuters_tickers)
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Thursday he would support the governor of the country's Gezira state in 2020 presidential elections if Mohamed Tahir Ayala decided to stand.
Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 bloodless coup and is wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes in Darfur, has said he plans to stand down in 2020.
"If Ayala runs for president in 2020, I will support him," Bashir said in a speech broadcast on state television.
Ayala, the head of the Gezira branch of the ruling National Congress Party, later on Thursday commented on Bashir's support, saying he would back the Sudanese president if he ran for a third term in office.
"The demand of the Gezira people and my demand is for 2020 to be the year where Bashir is elected for a third term in office. That's the demand of all of the Sudanese people," Ayala said at a public gathering the president attended.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)