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SPLM-IO disputes election date

By Dogga Luwo

 

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) has denounced the National Election Commission’s (NEC) unilateral announcement of December 22, 2024, as the date for national elections.

Prof. Abednego Akok, NEC’s Chairperson said last week, the declaration of the election date is in line with the 2018 peace deal, which requires that a date must be declared six months before the conduct of polls.

Responding to the announcement yesterday, SPLM-IO Deputy Chairperson Nathanial Oyet Pierino cited several grounds for rejecting the NEC’s unilateral decision:

Oyet stated that the announcement undermines the ongoing inter-party dialogue evaluating the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and recommending the way forward.

He added that NEC’s announcement threatens to derail the Tumaini Initiative in Nairobi, which aims to bring non-signatory groups on board to support the R-ARCSS and achieve inclusive peace.

Oyet argued the NEC’s move violates Article 1.20.6 of the R-ARCSS, which requires elections to be conducted based on the Permanent Constitution and amended National Elections Act.

Furthermore, the SPLM-IO leader claimed the NEC Chairperson has acted unilaterally in removing the Commission’s Secretary-General and appointing controversial members to State High Committees – steps he said contravene the Elections Act.

“These unilateral decisions have jeopardized the support of the international community and the prospect of free, fair and credible elections,” Oyet warned.

“The actions of the Chairperson of NEC have made the members of the Commission, the Political Parties and the general public lose confidence in his integrity, neutrality and ability to conduct peaceful, transparent, inclusive, free, fair and credible elections in the Republic of South Sudan.”

He further added that the pronouncement did not take into account several factors, including the completion of the prerequisites for elections, security arrangements (Phase I and Phase II), the National Population Census, the Permanent Constitution, the judicial reform, the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons, the transitional justice processes, and the political and civic space.

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