January 9, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s Council of Ministers, during a regular sitting held on 6 January last week, resolved to pass the country’s long-awaited National Elections Bill 2012 and its recommendations.
- The South Sudan Council of Ministers (©Thomas Kenneth)
The meeting, according to a government-owned website, was chaired by South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir. The Bill, previously under the Justice Ministry, will later be sent before members of the National Assembly for final approval.
In November last year, the US-based Carter Center issued a strongly-worded statement urging South Sudanese lawmakers to consider reviewing term limits for the presidency, which was excluded from the country’s Transitional Constitution as well as the draft Elections Act.
South Sudan currently has more than 382 members of parliament split between the National Legislative Assembly (332) and the Council of States (50), reportedly making it one of the largest legislatures in the world relative to the new country’s population.
According to both the Transitional Constitution and the Elections Act, however, members of the Council of States will not be popularly elected, but shall be elected by members of the State Assemblies.
Alternative structures, the Carter Center says, could be considered to ensure that members of the Council of States are directly accountable to the people.
If successfully passed, however, the Elections Act 2012 will set the rules that will govern the administration of the next elections in South Sudan, anticipated to be held in 2015.
The Act will, among other things, provides for the formation of National Elections Commission, a body reportedly set to comprise of nine members appointed by the president and approved by a parliamentary majority.