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JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) on Friday announced a boycott of the anticipated December 2024 elections, arguing the vote would violate the 2018 peace agreement.

Speaking during a press conference at the SPLM-IO headquarters in Juba, SPLM-IO deputy chair Oyet Nathaniel Perino said prerequisites for a “peaceful, transparent, democratic, free, fair, and credible” vote have not been met.

These, he said, include the unification of the rival forces, drafting a permanent constitution, holding a population census, settling refugees and internally displaced people, and addressing transitional justice.

“We will not engage in any process that undermines the peace agreement.  We refuse to participate in elections that are deemed sham, lacking in freedom and fairness,” Oyet said.

He added that the main armed opposition group is also concerned by delays in implementing process of the peace agreement roadmap agreed upon by the group and other peace partners on August 2022.

“We are worried that the Road-map concludes in twelve months without the completion of pending tasks and the essential prerequisites for elections mentioned earlier,” he added.

The comments by the senior opposition official comes days after the SPLM-IO leader called in a letter to Kiir for dialogue to discuss the path forward concerning the elections, warning that it would consider the peace agreement abrogated if elections were held without the prerequisites being met.

South Sudan’s transitional period was originally slated to end with elections in February 2023, but the government failed to meet key provisions on drafting a constitution and creating a unified army.

In August 2022, parties to the agreement extended the transitional rule by two years, with polls now scheduled for December 2024.

Observers have expressed doubt South Sudan is prepared for credible elections by that date, citing delays and the extensive requirements that remain unfulfilled. - Sudans Post

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