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Juba City - 14 Apr 2023

Council of Ministers passes National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment) Bill

Information Minister Michael Makuei. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)
Information Minister Michael Makuei. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

The national council of ministers on Friday approved the National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment) Bill 2023 and directed the Justice Minister to table it before parliament for deliberation.

South Sudan was meant to conclude a transition period with general elections in February 2023, but the coalition government failed to meet key provisions of the agreement, including drafting a constitution and passing elections law.

The parties to the agreement extended the transitional government's time in office for another two years, meaning elections would be held in December 2024.

Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said some of the outstanding issues in the bill including mapping of the constituencies have been agreed upon by the cabinet.  

He however revealed that the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) and the cabinet’s governance cluster failed to address the issue of the allocation of percentages.

“Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Rueben Madol presented the National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment) Bill 2023 which is very important because this is the law that will regulate elections,” he said.  “So, there is a need to have the law amended so that it conforms to the provisions of the agreement.”

According to Makuei, 50 percent was allocated to the geographical constituencies, 35 percent to the women, 10 percent to the parties, 3 percent to the youths, and 2 percent to persons living with disabilities.

“With the 50 percent geographical constituencies there was no problem and it is individual constituencies and everyone can go and contest and if they win, so be it,” he said. “For the others, the discussion was how will the representation be made and it was agreed that there should be 35 percent for women in accordance with the party list, 10 percent for parties, 3 percent of the youth according to the party list, and 2 percent for people with disabilities respectively.”

“After thorough deliberations, this election law was passed by the cabinet, and the justice minister was directed to immediately table it before the parliament for consideration so that we start the process,” the minister added.

Regarding the population census, Makuei said that in case it does not take place before the elections at the end of the transitional period, the government will come up with a mechanism to be used which he did not elaborate on.

“We will come out with a mechanism, there are so many ways of skinning a cat so we will come out with a mechanism for the elections if we are unable to conduct the population census this time,” he said. “We will let you know at the right time.”

Minister Makuei said the cabinet in its Friday sitting also passed the National Revenue Authority Act 2016 (Amendment) Bill 2023, the South Sudan Anticorruption Act 2009 (Amendment) Bill 2023, and the Tourism Bill.

He said the justice minister was tasked to expressly table the proposed legislation before parliament.