South Sudan: President Salva Kiir’s mandate extended to 2021

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South Sudan’s parliament has extended President Salva Kiir’s mandate until 2021 in the war-torn country.

MPs voted on Thursday to pass a bill extending the president’s rule by a further three years – a move that’s expected to deal a blow to the country’s struggling peace process. Lawmakers unanimously voted in favour of the bill which must now be passed into law by the president himself.

South Sudan extends Kiir mandate

“The transitional constitution amendment bill number five for the year 2018 is hereby passed by the national legislature,” Speaker Anthony Lino Makana announced after lawmakers unanimously voted in favour of the bill on Thursday.

The extension of Kiir’s mandate raised further questions of South Sudan’s struggling peace process, which has failed to bring an end to the country’s civil war despite numerous peace deals and ceasefires.

The nation’s leading rebel group demands that Kiir steps down as part of any peace deal but the president has repeatedly said it makes no sense for him to sign a deal that brings his leadership to an end. While key members of the government argue the extension is necessary to protect its position during the reshuffle of power being negotiated during peace talks, which would likely see the country’s largest opposition group enjoy more influence at the expense of the government.

The SPLM-IO opposition group promptly released a statement following the vote, expressing its disappointment at “the underhanded manner” used by lawmakers to pass the bill, calling it an “illegal extension of the regime’s tenure.”

Featured image: Salva Kiir, the president of southern Sudan” flickr photo by Al Jazeera English https://flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/5335499393 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.