Opposition Parties in South Sudan Vocal Against New Electoral Law Ahead of Historic General Election

JUBA, South Sudan — Opposition parties in South Sudan are expressing strong criticism of a recently implemented electoral regulation, claiming that it is designed to exclude them from the upcoming general election. This election will mark the first democratically elected government in the world’s youngest nation. The Coalition of Opposition Parties has submitted a petition to the country’s Political Party Council, demanding the repeal of the $50,000 registration fee imposed on parties intending to field candidates in the forthcoming polls.

The People’s Progressive Party, SSOA, Coalition of Opposition Parties, and United People’s Party are among the main opposition parties that view the new registration fee as an attempt by the government to suppress democracy and impede the participation of opposition parties in the election. Lam Akol, leader of the National Democratic Movement, previously challenged President Salva Kiir in the 2010 election during South Sudan’s secession from Sudan. Akol raised concerns over the affordability of the $50,000 fee, highlighting that in 2010, parties were only required to pay around $150 for registration.

Riek Machar, chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), the primary opposition party in the transitional government, blames President Kiir’s government for failing the people of South Sudan. Machar has stated that his party will not participate in the election unless all the outstanding chapters of the peace agreement are fully implemented. Opposition leaders also express distrust in the local judicial process, questioning its ability to handle potential challenges to the election’s outcome. Gabriel Akok, chairperson of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), argues that the judiciary is currently controlled by government sympathizers, thus jeopardizing the legitimacy of the process.

It is important to note that South Sudan is currently under a transitional government, and its term will come to an end following the election in December. The controversy surrounding the registration fee and concerns about the integrity of the electoral process pose challenges to the country’s efforts to establish a legitimate and inclusive democratic system. The opposition parties’ criticisms highlight the need for transparency, equal participation, and a fair judicial system to ensure the credibility of the upcoming election and the future stability of South Sudan.