South Sudan: MPs Walk Out of Parliament Over Electoral Law

Harare — Members of South Sudan’s ruling party left parliament on Monday after legislators approved a measure clearing the way for long-delayed elections, accusing President Salva Kiir of breaking the peace accord, TRT Afrika reports.

Since breaking away from Sudan in 2011, the world’s youngest country struggled to establish itself, going through numerous crises, including a five-year civil war that claimed nearly 400,000 lives before a peace agreement was completed in 2018.

With elections now scheduled for next year, a unity government between Kiir and his adversary and deputy Riek Machar failed to uphold important terms of the peace accord, including writing a constitution and electoral legislation. The National Election Act was passed on Monday, September 18, but parliamentarians from the Machar-affiliated SPLM party challenged its adoption, saying it will lead to a “undemocratic, unfair, and not credible” poll.

Kiir pledged to host the nation’s first presidential elections by December 2024, but UN representative Nicholas Haysom warned in August that the authorities needed to build a favourable atmosphere to enable “peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections”.

The leadership of South Sudan came under fire from the UN numerous times for its participation in inciting violence, repressing political liberties, and looting public funds. Elections in February 2023 were supposed to mark the end of the transition period, but the administration has so far fallen short of important agreement requirements.

South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest nations despite having significant oil reserves, has been at war for over half of its history, and is still plagued by ethnic conflicts that have political overtones.

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