National, News

SPLM-IO lawmakers walk out of parliament

By William Madouk

Members of the national Assembly on SPLM-IO ticket, under Dr. Riek Machar, on Friday, walked out during third reading of 2023-2024 fiscal year national budget.

The opposition party legislator protested proposed 400 percent salary increment adopted by the majority SPLM party lawmakers, which they consider low.

A controversy arose after minister of finance; Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol considered 400 percent increment for civil servants over a proposal of 600 percent, previously adopted by lawmakers.

But the SPLM-IO Chief Whip, Farouk Gatkuoth, objected to the proposal of a 400 percent and threatened to boycott the sitting if the August House did not consider hi side.

“Hon. Members, it has never happened in any way in the parliament of the world that when a budget or a bill is done within its first and second readings and then all of a sudden something comes from outside August House, be it from a minister or whoever, this is un-procedural,” Gatkouth protested.

The opposition chief whip persisted, though defending that his insistence was not a threat.

“I would be surprised that, in third reading, the SPLM-IO stood firm for the first report. I am not threatening, but any resistance to the first report might lead us to leave this House as an IO and whoever will follow us,” he added.

However, as soon as the House conceded to the minister’s appeal, than members of the SPLM-IO rejected it and boycotted the sitting.

Meanwhile, Aldo Ajou Deng, a member of the SPLM party blasted the opposition, which opposed the view of the coalition, not only to walk out of the parliament but also the Cabinet.

“When you walk out of parliament, your own members of government should walk out of the cabinet. If you don’t understand it, that is your problem,” said Ajou.

According to him, there were no fundamental objections by those who walked out; if there had been fundamental protests, the walkout should have been against the government.

“In the cabinet, people were there to work things out, and you cannot walk out from the tail of your party; the head is there, and you walk out from behind, and therefore we can pass this budget because we all agree,” Ajou insisted.

It is worth noting that the extra-ordinary sitting went on and the August House passed the budget to the tune of SSP 1.8 trillion with a defect of SSP 200 billion, despite the SPLM-IO protest over the adopted 400 percent civil servant salary hike.



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