S. Sudan peace partners write to mediators over selection of speaker

June 29, 2016 (JUBA) – Parties to South Sudan’s peace agreement which ends two years of violent conflict have written to the regional mediators to help in the interpretation of the selection of the speaker of the transitional national legislative assembly.

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First Vice President, Riek Machar, accompanied by SPLA-IO officers, Juba, 27 May, 2016 (ST Photo)

The matter has been one of the hosts of contentious issues the parties have not yet resolved, resulting in the delay in the reconstitution of parliament of unity government.

The First Vice President, Riek Machar, revealed in an interview with the United Nations sponsored Radio Miraya of selection of the speaker of the transitional national legislative assembly and therefore decided to write to the regional mediators to make necessary interpretations on the mechanism of selection of the speaker of parliament in accordance with the provision of the peace agreement.

“We have written to the mediators to guide us on the issue of the selection of the speaker, which is one of the major issues we have not resolved,” said Machar on Tuesday.

“We need the parliament to assume its rightful role,” he added.

Minister of information and the official government’s spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, confirmed the latest political development on the mechanism of the selection of the speaker of the transitional parliament of unity government.

Lueth however largely attributed the delay in reconstituting the parliament to the withdrawal of the list of the nominated members on the armed opposition ticket and differences over the representatives of other political parties, but which he said have now been resolved.

Lueth said the SPLM-IO withdrew an initial list and made a new list of members it wanted to be appointed in the reconstituted parliament. This, he said, contributed to the delay in forming new parliament.

“His Excellency the President will cancel definitely the first order and issue a new order appointing all these people to the transitional legislative assembly,” Lueth told reporters on Tuesday.

The official confirmed that other political parties have also submitted their list to the President who would now issue a completely new republican order to appoint new officials soon.

He did not elaborate on when the appointments would be made as well as declining to reveal the names of the officials and parties which would be represented.

The parties have not agreed on how to chair the first sitting and the selection of the new speaker.

President Kiir’s faction wants the current speaker to chair the first sitting and the selection of the speaker to be done with the show of hand vote. Machar’s faction wants the oldest member of parliament to chair the first sitting and for the vote in electing the new speaker to be done in secret ballot.

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