In what was largely described as a breakthrough a month before the Sudan elections, the two major parties have agreed to increase the number of parliamentary seats allocated to the opposition SPLM from 21 % to 27%.
Parliamentary seats are determined according to the population of a region. But both parties were deadlocked over the issue because of a dispute over the census. The new arrangement paves the way for the SPLM to block any move by the majority to make constitutional changes.
Analysts say that SPLM’s main fear was that the Sudan government could use its majority to block the upcoming referendum on the cessation of the South.
Mustafa Biong Majak, the secretary general in the Ministry of Information for the Government of Southern Sudan, says that because of the deadlock “it had come to two things, either to cancel the results of the census or solve the problem [reach a compromise].”
The SPLM asked for 60 seats but was allowed only 40 and accepted “for the sake of the election,” he says.