JUBA, SEPTEMBER 26, 2023 (SUDANS POST) — South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday evening signed the controversial elections bill into law, ignoring opposition calls for removal of a section in which an elected president would have the right to appoint a portion of the members of parliament.
“President Kiir on Tuesday signed the National Elections Act, 2012 (Amendment) Act, 2023 bill into law,” the presidency said in a statement issued just after the signing of the bill by Kiir, adding that the bill was presented to the head of state by parliament speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba who is a member of Kiir’s party.
“The bill is an important element in the Revitalized peace agreement for the process of elections to commence,” said Kumba following the signing of the bill. “The country is now ready to start the preparation for the elections by putting in place the mechanism for parties to do elections.”
The bill, known as National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment Bill 2023) was passed last Thursday, largely by lawmakers representing the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IG) in the transitional parliament.
Lawmakers from the main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Riek Machar Teny, boycotted the sitting in which the bill would later be passed in their absence.
They were specifically opposing a new provision which gives a future president the power to appoint at least seventeen (17) members of parliament which account for 5 percent of all the parliamentarians after elections.
CEPO WELCOMES SIGNING OF BILL INTO LAW
In a statement, civil society watchdog Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), welcomed the signing of the bill into law and stressed the importance of the creation of a legal institutional environment for conduct of elections.
“CEPO appreciates the president in fast-tracking the signing of the national elections bill into a law although it was challenged by the opposition over the introduction of the 5% power for the president to appoint 17 parliamentarians of the 332 parliamentarians after the public voting for the rest of the parliamentarians,” the statement signed by CEPO’s Executive Director Edmund Yakani reads in part.
“The creation of legal and institutional environment for the conduct of the proposed elections for December 2024 is essential within the month of the October 2024 as we advocated after the president address of the UN Security Council in New York,” the statement added.
Yakani further said that his organization “will be issuing policy direction opinion on the use of the 5% power of elected press to appoint in relation of promotion or embracing observation of inclusivity for effective participation of minority groups.”
“It should be the elections commission to develop guidelines for the use of the 5% for elected president to use,” it added. - Sudans Post