By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan (AA) - South Sudan’s ruling party on Wednesday endorsed President Salva Kiir as its candidate for another term in the elections that will be held at the end of 2024.
Kiir has been the country’s only president since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the country's 2011 provisional constitution did not provide a presidential term limit.
South Sudan has since grappled with a five-year civil war and the slow implementation of a peace deal signed in 2018.
“I am humbled and honored by your decision to nominate me for these two important tasks ... to be the sole candidate in the forthcoming convention, and also the flag bearer for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in the general election,” Kiir said after being endorsed by his party members.
“I hope I will not fail you. ... I believe that we will fight together whatever battles that are coming,” Kiir said.
There has been no other declared candidate for the 2024 presidential elections, but Vice President Riek Machar is expected to run for the presidential elections. Machar is also a longtime Kiir rival and a former rebel leader.
In 2013, the political disagreement in the country caused a split within the army, leading the soldiers that are loyal to the respective leaders to fight.
The National Liberation Council, the highest party organ of the ruling SPLM, has also endorsed Kiir’s deputies and secretary-general.
- Stance of main opposition
Puok Both Baluang, the head of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), also Machar's acting spokesman, stressed that Machar remains a member of the SPLM party.
Baluang also warned Kiir’s faction against making decisions that can jeopardize cooperation.
He said they are ready for elections if all security arrangements and repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people are completed.
“We, the SPLM-IO, are ready for the elections because it’s a democratic process that allows the people of South Sudan (to exercise) their constitutional rights, to choose the person they believe to lead the country for the generation to live in peace and stability.”