JUBA - South Sudan’s government and officials for Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition, or SPLM-IO, said they are moving closer to forming a transitional government, which is now several months behind schedule.
The current cabinet will likely be dissolved "any time now," said President Salva Kiir's spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny. Ateny said Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar are finalizing consultations on the formation of a transitional government.
"The president now is working on the process to dissolve the government in the running up to the formation of the transitional government of national unity,” Ateny said. “There are a bit of consultations that are taking place between the parties and particularly the first vice president."
Ateny added that Kiir is ready to name 16 ministerial positions for the transitional cabinet from his side. SPLM-IO spokesman William Ezekiel said his side also finalized consultations and nominations in a meeting Wednesday, chaired by the former rebel leader, Machar.
"The agenda was to discuss the issue of the formation of the government of national unity, particularly in regard to the quarter given to IO by virtue of the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan," Ezekiel said.
Parties to the August peace agreement are under pressure from the international community and regional partners to quickly form a unity government.
Ezekiel said officials examined the qualifications of each candidate.
"All of us agreed that the ministers of SPLM-IO, they should get rid of themselves on issues of tribalism, nepotism, regionalism and all sorts of excuses,” Ezekiel said. “The criteria were as follows: that we need competent cadres, [a] person with [a] good qualification background, a person who entirely has the spirit of serving the people of South Sudan and, above all, a candidate who believes in the principles and in the spirit of the agreement."
Ezekiel said Machar has already submitted the list of SPLM-IO nominees to Kiir.
The peace deal states that the transitional government will have 30 ministers. Kiir will appoint 16, the SPLM-IO will appoint 10, and the former detainees and opposition parties will appoint two each.