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Sudan’s SPLM Displeased With Referendum Law, Says Official

  • Peter Clottey

A Sudanese opposition supporter shouts slogans as protesters wave the flag of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) during a demonstration against the government in Khartoum, 07 Dec 2009

A Sudanese opposition supporter shouts slogans as protesters wave the flag of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) during a demonstration against the government in Khartoum, 07 Dec 2009

The press secretary to the head of Southern Sudan’s government says President Salva Kiir will soon meet Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to resolve the impasse over the adopted referendum law.

The press secretary to the head of Southern Sudan’s government says President Salva Kiir will soon meet Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to resolve the impasse over the adopted referendum law.

Akot Lual Arech said tension is high in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum after parliament adopted the referendum law despite opposition protests.

South Sudan leader, Salva Kiir

South Sudan leader, Salva Kiir

“They walked out of parliament because what the partners have done, the National Congress Party (NCP) in the parliament, they are trying to amend the agreement that was done between the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) and the National Congress Party. It was a political agreement and it was (endorsed by) the Council of ministers. The parliament should also do the same, but some members of the National Congress Party, went and made some amendments,” he said.

Sudan’s parliament adopted a referendum law Tuesday that will determine Southern Sudan’s possible independence. But SPLM parliamentary members walked out displeased with a clause that would allow Diaspora southerners to cast absentee ballots.

Yasser Arman, deputy secretary general of the SPLM called the vote a breach of the 2005 power-sharing agreement and threatened a boycott of parliament until the legislation was revised.

But Badriya Suleiman, NCP leader of parliament's justice committee, was quoted by Sudan’s media as saying that barring southerners from voting outside their region was a violation of the constitution.

The SPLM recently signed an agreement with President al-Bashir’s NCP on outstanding issues from their 2005 peace deal.

President Bashir

President Bashir

Arech said the NCP has flouted that agreement.

“What went wrong is just like what happened now. We have agreed last week, (but) this week they changed and did something different and that is what has been going on all these years,” Arech said.

The SPLM has often accused the NCP of lacking the political will to fully implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement - - a charge the NCP denies.

Arech said residents of Southern Sudan are displeased with the adopted referendum law.

“The environment in Khartoum is very tensed because the Southerners are very upset. The marginalized people in Sudan are also not happy. Everybody is not happy. And as usual, the security (is) trying to threaten the situation. They want to change the law and then they want to threaten people not to talk. We will see what will happen in the two, three days to come,” Arech said.

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