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South Sudan parliament passes election bill amid opposition protest

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) passed the National Elections Bill 2023
sparking protest by the largest opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in opposition
(SPLM-IO) over amendments that increase the number of law makers.
The election bill had initially proposed the number of law makers be trimmed to 250 but the
majority SPLM-In Government (SPLM-IG) led by President Salva Kiir amended the bill increasing
the size of parliament to 332.
SPLM-IG also granted special powers to President Salva Kiir to appoint five percent of law
makers from special interest and minority groups that was opposed by the SPLM-IO led by First
Vice President Riek Machar.
John Agany, the spokesman for the TNLA told journalists after parliamentary sitting in Juba,
that the Election Act 2023 provides for 50 percent representatives of geographical
constituencies and 35 percent representation for women and 15 percent for political parties.
“The bill is talking of 250 law makers and of course it is adopted from the bill revised by
National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC). The national legislative assembly has
decided to increase the number of law makers from 250 to 332, SPLM-IO was saying there is no
reason for the assembly to be expanded to 332,” he said.
Agany revealed that the increment of law makers is meant to give wider representation to
special interest and minority groups.
He said in the current Election Act there is a clause giving the President power to appoint 5 to
10 percent number of law makers representing special interest groups including experts and
civil society groups.
Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the deputy chairman for the opposition SPLM-IO said they have
rejected the amendments in the election bill passed by the majority SPLM-IG.
“The proposal that the President will be given extra powers to appoint additional number of
members of parliament takes away the mandate and sovereignty of the people of South
Sudan,” Pierino said.

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