Home | News    Tuesday 23 February 2010

Peace partners agree to increase southern Sudan parliamentary seats

February 22, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The two partners of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) agreed in a meeting held at the level of the Sudanese presidency to increase parliamentary seats to southern Sudan, but they are still differ on the final number of seat.

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A picture taken on January 9, 2009 shows Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir (C) and First Vice President Salva Kiir (R) arriving at Upper-Nile State capital city (Getty)

The agreement, however, ends quarrel by the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement over the result of the fifth census conducted last year. The SPLM threatened to not participate in the elections of national parliament if the dispute in not resolved.

Luka Biong the minister at the presidency of southern Sudan government said that the presidency in a meeting held on Sunday agreed to increase 40 parliamentary seats to southern Sudan in the national parliament. He added they will be appointed based on election results.

However, Mohamed el-Hassan Al-Amin, National Assembly Deputy Speaker, marked his distance from what Biong said about the 40 seats adding latest understanding between the two parties reached 34 members of parliament underscoring the SPLM demands 40 seats.

Al-Amin further said that the proportional representation is the most appropriate mechanism to increase the representation of Southerners in the parliament from 21% to 25%. He added this should include women’s constituencies.

The south accuses the north of manipulating the results of the census to deny the south adequate representation in parliament, commensurate with its size, in order to pass self-serving legislation.

"There is politics behind it ... there is a possibility of the national parliament changing the (2005) agreement, even changing the right to self determination for the people of south Sudan if there is no reasonable blocking minority," Deng Alor leading SPLM member last month.

In April 2010, Sudan is scheduled to hold its first democratic elections in 24 years. General elections are required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, which ended the civil conflict between northern and southern Sudan that lasted two decades, killed 2 million people, and displaced 4 million more.