February 13, 2011 (JUBA) – The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south has officially adopted South Sudan as a name for the new state whose existence will be formalized on July 9, 2011.
- SPLM’s secretary-general Pagan Amum (Reuters)
The proposal, which emerged from the meeting of the SPLM’s politburo headed by the SPLM Chairman Salva Kiir, will be tabled before the party’s ranks and southern political forces for approval, SPLM officials said on Saturday.
South Sudan voted overwhelmingly last month in a referendum to secede from the north with which it signed a peace deal in 2005 and ended more than two decades of intermittent civil wars.
Separately, the SPLM has decided to bifurcate itself into two separate entities in north and south Sudan, a day before the region’s breakup with the north is due to be officially pronounced.
Pagan Amum, the SPLM’s secretary-general, told reporters on Sunday that the SPLM had decided to become two independent parties in the north and the south, noting that the disentanglement would be implemented on July 8.
Although a southern liberation movement in embryo, the SPLM’s political program of the “New Sudan” which advocates pluralism and respect for diversity in all of Sudan has attracted many followers in the north, especially among disaffected sectors of the population and leftist groups.
Amum further revealed that the SPLM had decided to charge Malik Aggar, the governor of the Blue Nile State, with the leadership of the SPLM’s in north Sudan while re-appointing Yasir Arman as its secretary-general.
He also told reporters that Abdual Aziz Adam Al-Hilu, the deputy governor of South Kordofan State, had been appointed as deputy SPLM chairman in north Sudan.
Pagan Amum stressed that the SPLM was already registered as a political party in the north and would not need new registration.
Some anti-SPLM groups in northern Sudan led by the northern separatist party Just Peace Forum have been calling for banning the SPLM in north Sudan following the secession of the south.
According to Amum, the SPLM’s politburo had also decided to transfer the elected northern members of its National Liberation Council (NLC), the highest decision-making body in the movement, to form another Liberation Council in North Sudan until the party there organizes a general convention.
Repeated failure to hold planned meetings of the NLC has fueled speculations that the SPLM’s leadership is trying to avoid confrontation with the council’s northern members who are feeling betrayed by the SPLM’s favoring of south Sudan secession.
But SPLM officials contend that the delays are caused by technicalities related to the busy schedule of its officials.