South Sudan’s Opposition Party Calls for Postponement of General Elections

ThePeople’s Liberal Party (PLP), the opposition has called for a nationwide campaign aimed at postponing the upcoming general elections proposed to take place next year in 2018.

By James Deng Dimo

JUBA, October 24, 2017 [Gurtong] - The August 2015 Peace agreement provides that the Transitional Government of National Unity would last for 30 months after which elections would be held.

South Sudan was scheduled to hold elections in July 2015 but was aborted after the country plunged into civil war in December 2015.

In March parliament voted to amend the South Sudan Transitional Constitution, 2011, to extend the presidential and parliamentary term by three years until July 9, 2018. The United Nations however said it is concerned by South Sudan's announcement to hold elections next year as the country is gripped by civil war.

The leader of the People’s Liberal Party, Peter Mayen Majongdit remarks comes a month after the South Sudan electoral commission announced its readiness to hold the country’s general elections in 2018.

Recently, the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) urged the Transitional Government of National Unity to give enough time for peace to prevail before rushing to the elections.

Majongdit said rushing for the elections without guaranteeing a conducive environment may plunge the country into deeper crisis.

“Principally we accepted the elections, but the only issue we are saying is the environment is not conducive in order to run free and fair elections, there should be an election reform that have totake place but now the election system does not exist today becausethe current election laws are just copy and paste from the past Sudan’s 2010 elections when the country was still one,” said Majongdit.

“After the referendum, South Sudan should not go to the polls using this system, there should be new data, a new system and new mapping which mean a population census has to be conducted,” he said.

Majongdit said for an election to be conducted in a country, the existence of peace a pre-requisite.

“The security situation itself is still very poor across the country; thousands of citizens are currently at the protection sites across thecountry while millions have fled to the neighbouring countries, whereare the voters now, for 2018 elections to take place, peace should beobserved first across the country,” he said.

He called for a reform of the electoral system beforeconducting the elections.
“Look at the judiciary system that the country is having now, this judiciary is not capable to handle the election’s disputes; it is a judiciary that is now completely controlled by the executive. The executive fires the judges and appoint judges.

So where do you havean independent system here, what is important now is for the allparties to back up the revitalization process of the agreements so that a new process to peace is reached that is more inclusive foreveryone,” he said.
The party leader said it will be unwise for all opposition parties torush for an election which may cause more loss oflives.

“As the PLP party, we are warning the government of the Transitional National Unity SPLM-IO under Taban Deng Gai plus the former politicaldetainees to reverse their decision of forcing the country to conductan election,” he said.

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