South Sudan President dissolves Parliament as part of peace accord

The new legislative body will have lawmakers from opposing sides

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dissolved Parliament, opening the way for lawmakers from opposing sides of the country’s civil war to be appointed under a 2018 peace accord.

Mr. Kiir’s decision was announced on public television on Saturday evening but no date was given as to when the new Parliament will begin working.

The setting up of a new legislative body was part of an accord signed in September 2018 between Mr. Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar, for years on opposition sides during the five-year civil war that left 3,80,000 people dead and four million displaced.

Civil society groups welcomed the dissolution of Parliament, saying it was long overdue but also expressing distrust.

“It is a welcome development and we hope that the dissolution (will not) also open the way to a lengthy process towards reconstituting the parliament,” Jame David Kolock, chairman of the South Sudan Civil Society Forum.

“The civil society is getting frustrated and no longer believes that even if the Parliament is reconstituted it will be a very viable parliament.”

In accordance with the 2018 accord, the new assembly will number 550 lawmakers, the majority — 332 — from Mr. Kiir’s governing SPLM party. The parliamentarians will be nominated by the different parties.

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