The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), said it would not accept a one-party nomination of the speaker of the would-be transitional national legislative assembly in the country.
The group said the one-party move would amount to a violation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) signed in August 2015 by President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO’s chairman, Riek Machar.
Machar is also the current first vice president of the transitional government per the executive power sharing arrangement in the peace deal which ended 21 months of civil war which erupted in December 2013 between the two factional leaders.
An inclusive transitional national legislative assembly with memberships from all parties to the agreement was supposed to be formed concurrently with the transitional cabinet two months ago. However, disagreement over mode of electing the new parliament’s speaker has delayed its formation.
President Salva Kiir’s faction recently disclosed their position that the speaker should be nominated from their party alone or to be appointed by President Kiir.
They argued that the position of the speaker would be to compensate for the position of the vice president, James Wani, President Kiir’s ally, who has become number 3 in the hierarchy of the top executive or presidency.
The opposition’s faction, the SPLM-IO, however said they will not accept their partner’s position to single-handedly nominate the speaker or appoint him, saying this would be violating the peace agreement.
“The leadership of the SPLM (IO) will not accept a one-party nomination process in electing the speaker. This would be a violation of the peace agreement. And why would we accept an act that violates the agreement?” Machar’s press secretary, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune.
Dak also said “appointing” a speaker would be another violation, adding that parliament’s speaker is elected, not appointed by the President.
The opposition’s media official further reaffirmed that SPLM-IO is committed to the full implementation of the peace agreement in accordance with its provisions.
He said the peace agreement did not restrict nomination of the speaker to one party, adding he or she should come from any party to the peace agreement as long as the person is an Equatorian.
The SPLM-IO, he said, would also select their Equatorian member to contest for the speakership.
Earlier, on Wednesday, President Kiir said he did not trust the “majority” number of his faction’s members in parliament to secure a vote for one of his members to become the speaker, saying some of them may defect and vote in favour of opposition’s member.
There are concerns that pro-reform members from President Kiir’s faction may also vote in favour of someone from the opposition so as to push for the reforms in the parliament.