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PREMATURE ELECTIONS A disaster in waiting-UN

By Jale Richard

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) yesterday said there would be problems if the government goes ahead to hold general elections at the end of the transitional period next year.

Reacting to questions from journalists, David Shearer, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General said for elections to be credible, it should be held in free and fair conditions.

“In June, I spoke at the Heads of State meeting for IGAD and we said that it is important that elections are held where free and fair elections can take place for them to be credible and for them to be able to contribute to resolving the conflict here,” Shearer said yesterday.

“I think if we have premature elections before all the procedures are put in place and before the real peace, then that would be a problem,” Shearer said.

“It is important that we work through the peace process that we have good conditions on the ground to enable an election to take place that can be seen as free and fair and win people’s confidence.”

Late last month, the government said it was ready to hold elections at the end of this Transitional Period next year whether there was crisis in the country or not since so many countries had held elections even in crisis.

Civil society organizations like South Sudan Network for Democratic Elections (SSuNDE) and Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) however, said elections could not be held at the end of the Transitional Period because many of the legal frameworks provided by the agreement on resolution of the conflict in the republic of South Sudan had not been amended.

However, last week, the Spokesperson of the National Elections Commission Lawrence Sulubia Amin, also the Commissioner for Civic and Voter Education could not confirm whether elections would be held, but added that they were in the process of preparation.




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