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Kiir commits to 2023 elections timeline

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Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: 1 min ago

President Salva Kiir on Wednesday, August 17, 2021.

Credit| Office of the President

President Salva Kiir has affirmed his commitment to the conduct of the general elections at the end of the transitional period.

The Head of State said there is an urgent need to complete all the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement before 2023.

“There is no time left for us, it is important that we agree and implement the pending tasks in the implementation of this agreement,” he said.

According to the implementation matrix of the 2018 peace deal, many provisions should have been implemented by now.

But most of the ambitious reforms have not been initiated or completed.

Already, there have been two extensions of the Pre-Transitional Period before the extension of the election deadline to 2023.

In May 2019, the pre-interim period was extended by six months, after the main opposition leader – Dr. Riek Machar – requested for more time to implement key parts of the security arrangements.

At the end of the six months, they again extended the pre-transitional period by 100 days.

It ended in February 2020 when President Salva Kiir appointed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar and other vice presidents—beginning the three-year Transitional Period.

But the unified army is not yet deployed as their graduation has been postponed several times.

The revitalized peace agreement mandates the Transitional Government to organize elections sixty days before the end of the current Transitional Period.

This is expected to enable the establishment of a democratically elected government.

South Sudanese are supposed to go for polls in 2022, according to the peace deal.

But in March 2021, the Office of the President said the government was not prepared to organize any elections.

The State House suggested that more time and adjusting of the timetable would be required to reorganize institutions in charge of democratic reforms.

For elections to take place, the agreement says the Political Parties Act of 2012 must be reviewed and approved by the parliament to enable free and democratic registration of political parties in South Sudan.

It also expects the permanent constitution to be enacted before a new National Elections Commission organizes the polls.

In January this year, Kiir’s office said the parties agreed to extend the Transitional Period up to 2023 to allow full implementation of critical tasks.

The peace partners are yet to even complete parts of chapter one on governance, chapter two on permanent security arrangements, chapter three on special reconstruction programs, chapter four on economic reforms, and even on the establishment of a proper justice system.

On Tuesday, President Kiir said he would like all tasks to be completed before 2023.

He asserted that there should be no postponement of the elections due to failure by the parties to implement the agreement.

“We need to complete all the tasks so that when 2023 comes, we will not have excuses that there are pending tasks and therefore let’s not conduct the elections.”

According to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, the current government shall conduct a national Population Census before the end of the transitional period.

The transitional period is expected to end in 2023, followed by the first general elections since 2010.

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