NEC Chairperson Prof. Prof. Abednego Akok Kacuol. (File photo)

NEC declares 22 December 2024 Election Day

South Sudan’s National Election Commission (NEC) has announced 22 December 2024 as the election date as per Section 16 (1) of the National Election Act 2023.

Prof. Abednego Akok Kacuol, the NEC chairperson, told the press on Friday that delays by the parties to agree on the elections have deferred the voter registration exercise which was supposed to have started in June.

There is what they call an electoral calendar. In the electoral calendar, we should have started [voter] registration in June but because there was no agreement by the political parties, we could not make it. But right now, with the declaration of the Election Day, these will be the points raised or to work with them,” he stated. “That is what is going to be done. Secondly, we are guided by the peace agreement. The NEC says, that when it remains six months before the elections, Election Day must be declared. And then we will move by 22 December 2014 to 25 February 2025, and elections will be conducted there”

Prof. Akok added that after the announcement of the election date, the commission will now embark on election activities such as voter registration.

“The public is made aware that from now on, elections will take place and we will embark on voter registration and all the electrical activities will take place until we reach December. And then from December, elections will take place immediately,” he stressed and added: “With preparation, I think we have done a lot now. There has been constant training of the commissioners and we have gone to the states and on Saturday, commission members will arrive in Juba for training.”

The announcement comes amid increasing uncertainty over the conduct of elections and the ongoing peace negotiations in Nairobi.

However, Prof. Akok clarified that it is the mandate of the commission to announce the election date.

“For us at the commission, we are technical people who implement the agreement as it is. If we did not declare the Elections Date today, then there is a political loophole,” he said.

On 19 June, the NEC chairperson established electoral committees for the country’s ten states and named individuals to head them. However, he did not form committees for the three administrative areas of Abyei, Greater Pibor, and Ruweng.

When asked about the fate of these three administrative areas, Prof Akok said that he would name chairpersons for the state committees after the commission’s meeting.

The elections in December will be the first to be held in South Sudan after it gained independence from Sudan in 2011.