It's Time to Start Talking About Elections in South Sudan

In 2018, South Sudan's main warring parties signed a peace deal which today should have already concluded with national elections. However, mid-2022, after years of implementation delays and stalled politics, South Sudan's power-sharing government announced a two-year extension of its term in office and pushed elections until December 2024. Even with the extended timeline, South Sudan's roadmap to elections looks steep and littered with pitfalls. The current failure to implement the peace agreement and an almost non-existing voting infrastructure have raised doubts about whether South Sudan can be ready for elections any time soon. With violence raging across much of the country, many also question whether South Sudan can hold elections safely. 

This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Edmund Yakani, executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, about South Sudan’s political malaise and the country's fraught road to elections. They first address the implications of South Sudan's latest political crisis after President Salva Kiir relieved Angelina Teny, the wife of First Vice President Riek Machar, of her position as defence minister. They then identify critical steps that must be taken to ensure the viability of the upcoming election, including a credible new constitution. They also discuss why surveys show South Sudanese overwhelmingly want elections even though they also predict such elections will cause more violence. They then also discuss what approaches could help foster more stability in South Sudan’s political system in the long-run, and whether Kiir or Machar would ever consider retirement. 

This episode of The Horn is produced in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

For more in-depth analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out Crisis Group's South Sudan country page. 

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