July 27, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan ruling SPLM party has nominated former transport minister Anthony Lino Makana as speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), breaking an impasse that has delayed reconstituting the oversight body of the government.
The meeting at SPLM House in Juba on Wednesday was chaired by President Salva Kiir who also chairs the ruling party, and comes a day after the replacement of the former First Vice President Riek Machar by Taban Deng Gai
President Kiir, who made the announcement, said today decision is a new page for the fractured party.
"You now voted and four candidates from Equatoria were brought to the SPLM leadership. The leadership of the SPLM has selected honorable Anthony Lino Makana," said Kiir, referring to his SPLM faction.
The party split into three factions at the onset of December 2013 conflict: SPLM In Government led by Kiir, SPLM In Opposition of Riek Machar and SPLM former detainees led by former Secretary General Pagan Amum.
Kiir said the SPLM factions has no choice but to remain united.
"If you are not united in this (SPLM) house, you will not be united in the (parliament) bigger house," he further said, warning that "measures will be taken against dissent members of parliament" who vote against SPLM policies.
Sources in the meeting said the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has accepted to nominate deputy speaker.
Oliver Benjamin, the head of information in the national parliament, said a special session to formally select the speaker in parliament will be convened on Monday.
"All members of parliament have been recalled to Juba to be able to attend on Monday August 1, 2016," he said by phone on Wednesday.
According to the August 2015 Agreement for Resolution of Conflict in the Republic, the current parliament with 332 MPs will be expanded to 400. The SPLM IO nominated new 50 legislators, 1 from former detainees and 17 from other political parties.
Disagreement over which party to nominate the speaker stalled expansion of the parliament and commencing the TNLA.