South Sudan: What you need to know about the Political Parties Act 2022

South Sudanese MPs at Freedom Hall

In May, the Transitional Legislative Assembly passed the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2022 after its third and fourth final readings.

The bill was passed by the legislature despite a boycott by the SPLM-IO party, which has 128 members. He objected to the bill’s conditions for a party to be legally registered.

The law states that for a political party to be registered in South Sudan, it must have at least 500 members from each of the country’s 10 states.

In this article, we try to answer your questions to help you understand the status of the law after the SPLM-IO caucus ended the boycott of parliamentary sessions for the past two weeks after reaching an agreement with the President Salva Kiir.

The transitional legislative assembly, reconstituted as part of the 2018 peace accord, has 550 members.

President Kiir’s group has a parliamentary majority with 332 members. It is followed by Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) with 128 members, then the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) with 50 members. The other political parties are represented by 30 members and the former detainees by 10 members.

1. What is the status of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2022?

The Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2022 has now become law as it has been passed by parliament and approved by the President.

Article 85 of the Constitution of South Sudan states that any bill approved by the National Legislature shall not become law unless the President approves and signs it. If the president refuses the assent for thirty days without giving reasons, the bill is deemed to have been signed.

“The Political Parties Bill is now law. It has already been approved by the president,” said Oyet Nathaniel, First Deputy Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly.

Oyet is also vice-president of the SPLM-IO party led by first vice-president Riek Machar.

Deng John Deng, a jurist, said: “Constitutionally, once a bill has been passed by parliament and approved by the president, it cannot be reintroduced for discussion, it becomes law. “

SPLM-IO members returned to parliament in mid-August.

2. How can the law on political parties be reintroduced in parliament?

In order for the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2012 Act 2022, passed in the absence of the SPLM-IO, to be reintroduced in parliament, it must first go through certain procedures.

A motion must be presented indicating the sections concerned, and then the motion must be supported by at least 20 members of parliament. Then it will be moved around the house and it could bring back the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2022 for deliberations.

“The Political Parties (Amendment) Bill 2022 has a different procedure than other bills passed in our absence but has not been approved by the President. Other bills that have not been approved by the President will automatically be resubmitted for deliberation,” Oyet said.

Meanwhile, Deng lawyer John Deng said: “Bills passed by the legislature in the absence of members of the SPLM-IO or any other party are constitutional because the important thing is that the parliamentary sittings reach a quorum”.

3. Is it legal for parliament to pass bills without one of the peace parties?

“If a two-thirds majority of all the members or a simple majority of the members have met and passed a bill, it is constitutional. For example, if 275 members of the National Legislative Assembly pass a bill, it is considered constitutional,” Attorney Deng said.

In the absence of the 128 members of the SPLM-IO, the other members of the transitional legislative assembly can still reach a quorum and vote on bills. “Any bill passed with a quorum is constitutional. But the recent settlement reached by the SPLM-IO president and leaders on some bills is political; it has nothing to do with the law,” Deng said.

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