from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Sudan is racing against time to hold elections in 2024.
With slightly less than four months before the end of the current year, there is concern about the lack of progress in key electoral and constitutional benchmarks.
The Transitional Security Arrangements are behind schedule.
Yet, there are growing calls in the public domain for the world’s newest country to hold the elections.
“As it stands, the conditions for South Sudan to hold elections are not in place yet,” said Guang Cong, the United Nations’ Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political) in South Sudan.
He called for an urgent need for the adoption of the National Elections Act by the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (RTNLA), reconstitution of the National Constitutional Review Commission, the National Elections Commission and the Political Parties Council.
Cong described 2023 as a critical “make or break” year for free, fair, and credible elections in 2024.
With a few months left in 2023, the envoy urged all parties to the peace agreement to therefore urgently request to demonstrate their political will by expediting the implementation of key outstanding benchmarks of the Roadmap.
The agreement mechanisms continue to face funding constraints.
“Political will, pragmatism and leadership are paramount,” Cong said.
At the recent commemoration of Martyrs’ Day, President Salva Kiir acknowledged that the country was at a critical phase in the consolidation of peace.
Kiir emphasised on the parties to work together to complete the transitional period through elections in 2024, on time and without further extensions of the Revitalised Peace Agreement.
On 27 July, the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development and UN mission presented to the Joint Task Force a list of priority issues related to elections that need the parties’ immediate consideration and decision.
South Sudan attained independence in 2011 but spilled into civil war two years later.
General elections, the first since independence, were scheduled to be held in 2015 but could not be organized following an alleged coup attempt and conflict.
Following the peace agreement that ended the civil war, a transitional period of three years was agreed on, which would be followed by elections in 2023.
In 2022, the transitional government and opposition agreed to move it to 2024.
– CAJ News