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News > South Sudan

South Sudan: UN Calls for Free Political Space, Elections

  • SRSG and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom. Nov. 24, 2023.

    SRSG and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom. Nov. 24, 2023. | Photo: X/@unmissmedia

Published 24 November 2023

The electoral process must have the full participation and support of South Sudanese, especially for a country emerging from a divisive conflict.

On Thursday, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) called for a level playing field for all political parties in the country as it prepares for elections in 2024.

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Nicholas Haysom, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of the UNMISS, said elections are not a one-day event, but a process that incorporates deliberate and thoughtful decisions before, during, and after the polls.

Haysom also stated that the process for the elections must have the full buy-in and support of the South Sudanese, especially in the case of a country emerging from divisive conflict.

"It is imperative for the parties to agree on a code of conduct around free, fair and transparent competition. UNMISS cautions against the temptation towards unilateral actions that undermine the trust needed amongst all stakeholders," Haysom said in an official statement in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Furthermore, the UN official urged South Sudanese to galvanize momentum toward their first post-independence elections.

"Looking ahead, it would be impossible to envision free, fair, and credible elections in December 2024, unless all South Sudanese parties, leaders, and stakeholders grab the bull by the horns, and agree on a critical mass of decisions by the first quarter of 2024," Haysom said.

According to the UN, South Sudan descended into a bloody civil war shortly after independence following a political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his then Deputy Riek Machar that killed about 400,000 people.

Kiir, Machar, and other political leaders signed a peace agreement in 2018 that ended the war. At the end of the transitional period, the country is expected to conduct a general election in December 2024.

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