August 2023 | UN warns South Sudan not ready for long-delayed transitional elections
On 2 August, Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan, warned that the country is not ready to hold transitional elections scheduled for December 2024. Under South Sudan’s 2018 peace agreement, the elections are due to mark the end of its halting transition to democracy, which in August 2022 was extended by two years due to the slow implementation of the agreement. According to Haysom, the country has still not established the necessary infrastructure to hold credible elections, with ‘foundational tasks’, such as drafting a constitution, incomplete. In July 2023, however, its President, Salva Kiir, said the polls would be held next year as planned. South Sudan has not held general elections since it gained its independence in 2011.
August 2022 | South Sudan’s transitional government extended by two years
South Sudan’s unelected transitional government has agreed to extend the transitional period of the peace agreement by an additional 24 months. This means that the elections, which were due to be held upon the expiration of the original agreement in February 2023, will instead be held in December 2024. President Salva Kiir Mayardit justified the extension on the grounds that much of the original agreement remained unimplemented, and that the armed forces need to be unified and a new constitution created before elections can be held. The United States, United Kingdom and Norway, who helped mediate South Sudan’s peace process, criticized the talks that led to the extension agreement for a lack of stakeholder consultation and stated that the “roadmap must demonstrate how another extension would differ from [the two] previous ones.”