National, News

Parliament finally passes Election Bill

By Bida Elly David

Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) passed the National Election Act 2012 (Amendment) Bill 2023, guaranteeing the possibility of conducting elections in 2024.

The bill will be presented to the president for assent.

In the Bill, the number of Members of Parliament shall be increased to 332 from 250. It provides for 50 percent of the National Assembly be elected to represent Geographical constituencies.

The Bill requires that 35 percent of women members shall be elected on the basis of proportional representation at the national level from the closed women list.

The Bill further stipulates that 15% of lawmakers will be elected based on national segment representation from the party list, youth, and persons with disabilities.

It gives 10% of parliamentary representation to the party list, 3% to the youth and 2% to the persons with disability (PwDs). It further stipulates that county commissioners shall be elected.

The Bill provides that 5% (Minority groups and eminent personalities) of Members of Parliament that shall be appointed by the President.

Despite the passing of the Bill, the question of giving the president the prerogative to appoint members of parliament off geographical constituencies has generated disagreement among parties.

It sparked disagreement among parties regarding the president’s authority to appoint parliament members off geographical constituencies.

Some MPs were in favor of the proposal while others disagreed. MPs from SSOA and SPLM-IO stood against it and termed it to be non-ideological.

Nathaniel Oyet said, that giving the president a prerogative dictates the possibility of conducting, fair, free and democratic elections.

Despite opposition attempts, parliament voted in favor of 5% prerogative powers of appointment, leading to a walkout protest by the SPLM-IO.

“Election must be democratic, if you appoint, is it an election? Is it a democracy? Our constitutions say we are a democratic nation and that means we must go for elections and accept the results,” Nathaniel said.

John Agany the spokesperson of the house said the passing of the bill has already guaranteed the Country’s possibility to conduct elections, noting that the SPLM-IO protest won’t work.

“We remind the people of South Sudan that the question of elections has become a reality because of this law which has come into pass, I believe that the people will enjoy the process of choosing their own leaders,” he said

Agany called the SPLM-IO protest an invalid attempt to create a stalemate.

“The SPLM-IO who are always creating stalemate of disagreement in the house gives a negative expression for the bill not to be passed but as a Country looking for justice, we have passed this law,” he said.

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