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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs