News / Africa

South Sudan Ruling Party Not Joining Calls for Election Delay

Northern opposition parties allege elections will not be fair under current conditions

Alan Boswell

The ruling party of South Sudan says southerners are "ready" for April elections and that it is not supporting calls from northern opposition parties for the vote to be postponed.

Sudan People's Liberation Movement Deputy Secretary-General Anne Itto told reporters in Juba the party in charge of South Sudan wants elections held on time.

"We are not only concerned about delays of election that might affect the [independence] referendum, but we feel like this is the time for elections, and our people are ready, and we do not want our people to be disappointed. SPLM has never requested for elections to be delayed," Itto said.

Following a meeting Saturday between an opposition alliance composed of northern parties and SPLM, reports circulated that SPLM had joined the northern opposition in calling for Sudan's April vote to be postponed until November.

South Sudan leader Salva Kiir will be meeting Tuesday with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to discuss concerns about the fairness of the upcoming vote.

Itto said points of concern raised by the opposition forces are "genuine," but that resolving them does not necessarily require pushing back the polls.

"Other political parties have issues, but most of them can be addressed without having to postpone the elections.  We want those issues addressed, but it does not mean that we want elections postponed. We recognize there are issues, but they can be addressed," Itto said.

The Northern opposition parties allege elections will not be free and fair under the current environment.

The parties are calling for the reform of a number of state security and media laws, and for the resolution of the Darfur conflict and a finalized border demarcation between the North and South as prerequisites to national elections.

Itto said Mr. Kiir will discuss with Mr. Bashir concerns over the fairness of ballots printed in Khartoum, the abilities of international observers to freely monitor the vote, and feared presidential powers to declare a state of emergency.  

The upcoming elections were agreed to as part of a 2005 peace deal between Bashir's Khartoum government and the SPLM, when the party was still an active rebel movement. Any delay in postponing the elections would likely require the tacit approval of both peace partners, but both Mr. Bashir and the SPLM have now brushed back calls to postpone the vote.

South Sudan is to hold an independence referendum in January 2011.  At a recent regional summit in Nairobi, Mr. Kiir said the upcoming elections are not a requirement for the referendum.  But Itto acknowledged that SPLM remains concerned that any further delay in the elections - originally slated for last year - will threaten the date of the South's prized secession vote.

"Already, the elections have been delayed by almost eight, nine months.  Any further delay of the election would affect our preparation for the referendum, and the referendum has a lot of preparation, even much more than the elections," Itto said.

The two-decade North-South war killed an estimated two-million people, mostly Southerners.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid