Pal Mai Deng, SPLM-IO spokesperson and minister of water resources

Inter-party dialogue on elections still underway

The inter-party dialogue on the election process among South Sudanese political parties is still ongoing, a senior SPLM-IO official has said.

The inter-party dialogue on the election process among South Sudanese political parties is still ongoing, a senior SPLM-IO official has said.

The feasibility of South Sudan’s December 2024 elections — the first since the country gained independence in July 2011 — is increasingly in doubt. 

With elections barely eight months away, political parties need clarity on how they are planning to expedite and complete the critical pending tasks to conduct free, fair and credible elections in December 2024.

The original transitional period agreed to in the 2018 peace deal ended on 22 February 2023, while the extended transition period is scheduled to end on 22 February 2025. National elections are planned for December 2024.

Speaking during a press conference in Juba on Saturday, Pal Mai Deng, the spokesman of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Riek Machar, said the parties had started a dialogue on the evaluation of the implementation of the peace agreement in Juba.

“I appreciate the SPLM-IG, which is our partner in peace, for accepting our call for dialogue on the evaluation of the implementation of the agreement. As we speak, the parties to the agreement are now in serious engagement, trying to evaluate the implementation of the agreement to see to it that what has been achieved and what has not been achieved, and at the end of it, a decision will be made whether we will have an election at the end of roadmap or we go for extension,” Deng said.

Deng, who is also the minister of water resources and irrigation, further said after the inter-party dialogue, a decision will be made on whether they will go for election at the end of the transition or extension.

“The dialogue is going well, and they have not yet reached the conclusion of what they are discussing. What we know so far is they have started with an evaluation of the revitalized agreement, trying to see what provisions of the agreement have been implemented, which ones have not been implemented and which ones are ongoing,” Deng said.

Deng continued, “This is the first phase of the dialogue which is taking place now and after this critical evaluation of the implementation of the agreement, they will be in a position to decide whether to go for elections at the end of the transition period or go for extension provided that the critical tasks of agreement need to be implemented before elections.” 

For his part, Jacob Maiju Korok, the deputy minister of information and member of the SPLM Party led by President Salva Kiir, confirmed to reporters after the council of ministers meeting in Juba on Friday that the inter-party dialogue on the election process was ongoing.

“The process is moving on, and we expect that it will be finalized around this month,” he concluded.