July 26, 2008 (JUBA) — The Arabic Al-Jazeera news channel reported that the chairman of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) decided to run for president in the upcoming 2009 elections in Sudan.
- Sudan’s First Vice President Salva Kiir (L), also leader of the semi-autonomous south Sudan, looks on as Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir (C) shakes Vice President Ali Osman Taha (R) at the signing ceremony of the new electoral law, approved by parliament last week in the capital Khartoum on July 15 2008 (AFP)
The decision was taken during the meeting of the SPLM political bureau in Juba. Kiir has previously been reluctant to run for president.
Kiir candidacy comes amidst a row between Khartoum and the International Criminal Court (ICC) whose prosecutor is seeking an arrest warrant for Sudan president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.
The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges last week to issue arrest warrants for Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.
Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashir’s arrest.
Kiir who is also the 1st Vice President of Sudan, has called for suspension of the ICC indictment by the UN Security Council (UNSC).
“There is no need rushing to take the Sudanese president to the ICC” Kiir told reporters late on Tuesday during a trip to Uganda.
Earlier this month Sudan’s parliament approved the elections law under terms of a 2005 peace deal which ended a north-south civil war and changed the way wealth and power are shared.
More than 2 million people died and 4 million were displaced in Sudan’s north-south conflict, which is separate from continuing violence in the western Darfur region, where international experts believe more than 200,000 people have died 2.5 million been left homeless by five years of conflict.