UN experts advise South Sudan to delay next year elections

November 28, 2008 (ST)

A UN consultative team of experts advised the semi-autonomous southern Sudan government to postpone the next year general elections to November 2009 till the end of rainy season in order to avoid the logistical complications.

In accordance to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January, the general elections should be held before July 2009, four year after the formation of the National Unity government in July 2005.

The elections in Sudan since its independence in January 1956 are always organized during the dry season between November and April to avoid the rainy season. The delay in the adoption of elections law or in the formation of electoral commission made it impossible to hold the elections before July.

Sudan elections Act was passed last July, while the electoral commission is appointed this week. The elections bill provides that elections should be organized 6 months after the appointment of electoral board members.

UNMIS Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan, David Gressly, disclosed Friday that a UN group of experts recommended informally to southern Sudan government to delay the general elections to the end of next year or early 2010. He added that GoSS had asked the panel to assess the situation.

"We have provided our own guidance, proposing using the coming dry season more for a registration process, and then the following one for elections and the following one after that for the referendum," Gressly said.

Many opposition parties, which suffer from the long years of dictatorship and lack of means, called for the delay of the elections to have sufficient to prepare it. Some SPLM officials spoke about the possible delay of elections but said it was personal point of view.

Currently only the National Congress Party say ready to hold the election during the fist part of 2009. However the possible indictment of President Al-Bashir could lead, the NCp also to call for the elections delay.


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