John Garang became Sudan’s first vice president three weeks ago, on July 9. More than a million Sudanese showed up to salute him when he joined his old enemy, President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, to sign a new constitution. Garang’s ascendance, along with the peace deal it brought, was hailed as a rare success story in Africa, one that could mark the end of more than two decades of war. There was also hope that the unity government between the Christian south and the Muslim north might be able to extend the peace to the western territory, which includes Darfur. It is tragic that these hopes have already been dashed. The death of Garang over the weekend in a helicopter crash spawned some of the worst rioting in Khartoum in years. It is heartbreaking for the Sudanese people, particularly in the south, who believed that an end to their years of turmoil was at hand. It really doesn’t have to be like this. Garang’s death doesn’t have to tear the peace deal asunder. Gara-ng’s party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, needs to choose a worthy successor. Garang’s widow, Rebecca, has thrown in her lot with the party’s deputy leader, Salva Kiir. Kiir lacks Garang’s charisma but it’s time for the Sudanese to stop pinning their hopes on magnetic men, and instead empower the democratic institutions. — The New York Times