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Elections will require popular support – Shearer

Author : | Published: Thursday, September 28, 2017

The head of UN mission in South Sudan says conducive environment and conditions are needed to carry out any elections in South Sudan.

David Shearer says the current conditions of war, displacement and destruction makes it impossible to conduct any free and fair polls.

Last month, the Minister of information, Michael Makuei told the media that elections will be held at the end of the transitional period as stipulated in the 2015 peace agreement.

Makuei said the displacements of people to the neighboring countries will not affect the turnout during the elections, adding that each person is free to return home at any time of their choosing.

He said it was possible to hold presidential and constituents elections in the country when the transitional period elapse.

However, Mr. Shearer said any elections needs the popular support of the constituents.

He told the UN Security Council, UNMISS will offer its support for elections when the time is right.

“We’re going to make sure that the conditions are conducive to holding elections, so that people should, as in any other country, be able to register their democratic right,” Shearer stated.

JMEC chairperson Festus Mogae also echoed the sentiments, saying the revitalization forum remains the only option for the parties to return to the path of reforms and political governance:

“It’s feared that credible elections will not be feasible at the end of the current transitional period. The high-level revitalization forum is therefore the best hope for reigniting the political process.”

Various experts have also told Eye Radio earlier this month that it would not feasible to conduct elections within the remaining timeframe of the agreement.

A policy analyst argued that the country would be required to reorganize the elections commission, mobilize resources for setting up offices across the 32 states, and proceed to conduct the population census.

A civil society activist has also called for a critical review of the timeline of the peace agreement before the country organizes any elections.

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