General election date pushed back by 18 months

General election date pushed back by 18 months
​Representatives of political parties signing an agreement on the electoral roadmap at Freedom Hall. [Photo: Keji Janefer]

​The long-overdue national election has been pushed back by close to two years.

The government announced Thursday, August 4 that the polls, which were scheduled for February 2023, will now be conducted in December 2024.

This comes even as parties to the current transitional period agreed to extend the term by 24 months, until 2025.

The current term is set to end in February 2023 after which a new two-year-period will begin.

The new term will run until December 2025.

The extension of the transitional period comes amidst loud protest from the United States, United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Norway to delay the process.

The representative of the three countries through their respective embassies, said they will not be a party to the event that is most likely to extend the transitional period of the current regime, unless proper consultation is undertaken with all the parties involved.

“The roadmap must demonstrate how another extension would differ from the previous ones and include steps for clear progress in setting up the institutions and mechanisms necessary to hold elections.

“Moreover, we believe that involving other stakeholders is essential to achieving the success and recognition your government wishes to achieve,” read the letter by the three ambassadors to President Salva Kiir.

The letter was signed by William Flens – Charge d’Affaires, US Embassy, Siv Kaspersen, Ambassador of Norway and Jonney Baxter the Ambassador of the United Kingdom.

“Whether a roadmap and an extension are seen as legitimate by the people of South Sudan and the international Community will depend on an inclusive consultation process. Our position will therefore need to be informed by whether such consultations take place,” added the letter.

All the three ambassador turned down an invite to witness the extension of the period, held today at Freedom Hall.

On Thursday, the government went ahead to announce the extension of the transitional period and pushed further the election date.

Parties to the agreement reiterated commitment not to return the country to war but wholesomely support the peace process.

Dr Martin Elia Lomuro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs said the government is fully committed in implementing the remaining chapters of revitalised agreement, starting with graduation of necessary unified forces, in August.

Lomuro, however, did not give a definite date.