July 1, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s political parties are scheduled to meet next week in a consultative leadership forum to agree on the formation of a new body to be called the Council of Political Parties (CPP).
- political parties leadership forum endorsing the parties draft bill, 2011, Juba, 26th Oct (ST)
The aim of the new mutli-party body is to register political parties. The CPP will exist in parallel to The Political Parties Leadership Forum (PPLF) which was established to unite South Sudan’s political groups ahead of the regions independence referendum in January 2011.
The PPLF is chaired by South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is also the chairman of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the head of the armed forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar Teny, serves as the secretary of the Forum.
The 2010 inter-party dialogue and prepared strategies on how best to mobilise the population to participate in the referendum, which was a key part of a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum.
South Sudanese voted by 98% to secede from Sudan and gained independence on 9 July 2011, with the SPLM, the political wing of the SPLA, as the ruling party.
The SPLM have governed South Sudan since the 2005 peace deal and reaffirmed their status in elections in 2010, winning 160 out of 170 seats in the South Sudan parliament. Kiir was elected President of South Sudan with almost 93% of the vote.
Opposition groups in South Sudan complained of unfair treatment during the 2010 elections and have also protested about the process of forming South Sudan’s transitional constitution. Some opposition leaders and members of the SPLM said that the constitution should have been more federal arguing that it left too many powers in hands of the presidency and central government.
The transitional constitution is due to be replaced with a permanent constitution.
On Saturday the country’s Vice President, Riek Machar, held a meeting with the Resident Country Director of the American-based International Republican Institute (IRI), Franklin Bonner, and discussed the preparations for upcoming political forum.
IRI is an international partner in the area of advancing democracy around the world and assists South Sudan by facilitating activities that promote democracy.
The Vice President’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune that the Saturday meeting stressed the importance and urgency to form the Council of Political Parties as required by South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, which came into being on the day South Sudan seceded from Sudan.
All the political parties, including the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), will be required to re-register themselves after South Sudan gained independence.
There are about 20 political parties in South Sudan, but some have lately withered out while new ones are springing up, though not yet recognised by the government. Until the next registration exercise, the government only recognises only political parties who were registered in Khartoum while South Sudan was still part of Sudan.
The political parties’ leadership forum, chaired by Kiir, will consult on how best to form the new council for the new state, particularly in terms of representation.
Machar reiterated at the meeting with Bonner that his government, under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, is committed to multiparty democracy.