South Sudan’s lawmakers have begun debating a proposal to amend the country’s constitution to extend the presidential and parliamentary term to July 2021.
South Sudanese Justice Minister Paulino Unango on Monday presented the constitutional amended bill 2018 to parliament seeking to extend the duration of the Transitional National Assembly, the term of president, first vice president and state governors for another three years.
“This is a first presentation and the speaker and the house has referred the whole matter to the committee of legislation and after the completion, it will be presented to the house anytime from now,” Pual Bunju, the chairperson of the National Assembly’s Information Committee, told journalists.
South Sudan was supposed to hold elections in July 2015 but the plan was interrupted after the world’s newest nation descended into civil war in late 2013.
The country’s parliament in March 2015 amended the South Sudan Transitional Constitution and extended Salva Kiir’s government until July.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April 2016 and provided that elections be held within 30 months.
But the pact was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016, with local and international observers including the UN and the African Union warning that the current environment in the East African country does not permit conduct of credible elections.
Kiir’s administration said in April that it would go ahead with general elections in case peace talks with the various opposition groups fails.
A new peace deal was agreed to last week by Kiir and his rival and former vice president, Machar, but there were reports that the new deal had already been violated on Sunday.