The Carter Center a non-profit and non-governmental organization has recommended the progress on legal framework in the National Election bill especially series of Public debates organized by the National Legislative Assembly Committee of Justice. “Following a series of public hearing the South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly is in final review of stages of the National Elections Bill to establish the framework for political competition in future elections in South Sudan, taking to account that passage of an elections bill is needed to move forward with by-elections for vacant legislative seats at the State and National Level, the Carter Center encourages all stakeholders to continue to contribute a thorough debate on the draft bill” the Carter Center said in a press release obtained by The Citizen. The Center in advance of the third reading of the legislation has raised several key issues contributing to the discussion by Members of the Assembly offered suggestions in the spirit of supporting Parliament to craft a healthy and credible electoral law that helps ensure South Sudan meets International standards and best practices for democratic elections.
Carter Center is concerned about the Appointment procedures for the National Elections Commission (NEC) which is provided in section eight of the bill which stipulates that the Commission will consist of nine members appointed by the President and approved by two- third Parliamentary majority. According to the center the consideration could be given to strengthening elements of the act to ensure the neutrality and impartiality of the Commission body. The way appointment of the Commissioners of the Commission is put looks vague and only notes that the President considers consultation with and representation of civil society and women’s group without mentioning how it would occur.
“The NLA could consider an alternative system for appointing Commissioners such as maintaining some seats on the NEC as Presidential appointments, while reserving a number of seats to be chosen by leaders of minority parties Assembly, and alternatively the President chooses Commissioners from a list of candidates presented by the Assembly through a list making process that ensures inclusion of Minority political Party input” the Center said.
Carter Center has further said that the terms limits particularly for the Executives are a broadly recognized best practice and despite that the term limits will be considered during the permanent constitution and legislators could consider prescribing them for both the President and Governors within the National Election Bill.