Parliament extends lifespan of transitional period

By William Madouk Garang

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly has finally passed the much-awaited interim government legitimacy by endorsing peace roadmap for extending lifespan of the transitional period till February 22, 2025.

Last Wednesday, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ruben Madol Arol, presented the bill before the house to amend the transitional constitution and incorporate the roadmap into the constitution.

Addressing Journalists after the sitting, the chairperson of Information Committee in R-TNLA, John Agany Deng stated that the House passed revised constitution to confirm with roadmap in extending the transitional period for more two years.

“In this sitting the roadmap has already been amended and the constitution has already been amended. So, we have now the extended government of national unity and we will be going for 24 months,” Deng said.

“There will be no [constitutional] vacuum within this period because the extension has been successful – that is meeting the dateline before the end of December. Because if we are to arrive at December without extending days then the government could have no any mandate” he continued.

Lawmaker Deng noted that the bill was urgent for the reason that if extension was not reached then the government would have risked dissolution by February 2023 and the constitutional vacancy might lead to threats.

“So, the government of national unity at all levels – starting from national to state government with all administrative areas with all legislative powers are hereby been extended for another 24 months” he reiterated.

Earlier, Madol affirmed that the purpose of the bill is to amend the law to extend the current transitional period under the September 12th 2018, peace deal.

The bill stipulates the term of the TNLA and describes the terms of the Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).  It also explains the tenure of the President’s office.

The terms “transitional state legislative assembly” or “administrative areas legislative council” are also defined in the Amendments to Article 164(5)(b) and 199(2), which pertain to amending the Constitution to incorporate the Agreement into the Constitution upon enactment by the TNLA within 30 days of the minister’s receipt of the amendment.

On September 1, 2022, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) in its extraordinary meeting unanimously approved the roadmap, with 37 of its 42 members voting yes against five.

Civil society activist, Edmund Yakani previously warned lawmakers against taking a break without first approving the roadmap that extends their term or mandate of office, as doing so would render them null and void on February 22nd 2023, the date on which the transitional period, as defined by R-ARCSS, was supposed to elapse.

The agreement on the roadmap extends the transitional period from February 22, 2023, to February 22, 2025, and general elections will be held in December 2024 in accordance with the timetables allowing for the implementation of the roadmap agreement’s unfulfilled elements.

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