South Sudan president pledges free and fair elections in 2024

 South President Salva Kiir has reiterated his administration’s commitment to free and fair elections come 2024 at the end of the transitional period.

He was on Thursday meeting the US Ambassador to Juba, Michael J. Adler in his office.

During the meeting, the South Sudanese leader briefed the US official about efforts in place to ensure all prerequisites for the conduct of free and fair elections are in place.

Ambassador Adler, the state-owned television (SSBC) reported, said he discussed with the South Sudanese leader the requirements for the elections, which includes a legal framework that provides for political and civic space as well as a politically neutral security force that can be achieved by the deployment of the necessary unified forces.

He further disclosed that the Joe Biden administration is working with governments as well as civil society entities around the world to prevent, resolve and mitigate violent conflicts.

 However, while President Kiir and members of his administration are determined to push for the conduct of elections, leading opposition and foreign diplomats have expressed concerns that credible elections require addressing the violence across the country.

Already, previously peaceful areas have fallen into traps of tensions and violence, causing fear in Eastern and Central Equatoria, Unity, Warrap, and Jonglei states, as well as the Abyei Administrative Area, where civilians have endured multiple attacks, fueling a cycle of cattle raiding, abductions, revenge killings and gender-based violence.

South Sudan is expected to hold its first democratic elections in December 2024 as per the 2018 peace agreement. But given disagreements between Kiir and other leading opposition parties, it is unclear whether the potential elections will take place next year.

President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar are already divided on elections conduct, amid concerns over delays in the implementation of key provisions of the peace deal.

Kiir expressed his frustrations on the delays in the polls at the swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed SPLM national advisors, secretaries, and deputy secretaries last month.

In August last year, South Sudan’s leaders signed a two-year extension of the transitional government, in a move foreign partners warned as lacking legitimacy.

This was the second time the parties extended the country’s transitional period.

Machar said implementation of key provisions in the roadmap is behind schedule.

In July, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom said the young nation could still make significant strides towards this December 2024 target to hold elections with political will, adequate resourcing and commitment to create an appropriate political environment.

#Sudan Tribune


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