News24

Former rebels run for governor

2010-01-17 22:44

Juba - South Sudan's former rebels will contest key governor posts in the 26 states of Africa's largest nation in historic elections due in April, with new candidates for half the posts in the south, a top official said on Sunday.

The south's ruling Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM) is challenging its former civil war enemies in the north in the first elections in 24 years.

"The SPLM is contesting in all states of the Sudan," said Pagan Amum, the SPLM secretary general. "A number of leaders lost in the contest - we have five new people coming in the south."

"Those who have won will have to work with those who did not to make sure that the SPLM will win," he told reporters in the southern capital Juba.

Four women were selected - two in the north, and two in the south - including Nyandeng Malek Deliec for the troubled Warrap state, where recent clashes between rival ethnic groups have left dozens dead.

Rights, equality

"With these nominations the SPLM is saying that it cares for women's rights and for equality," said Amum, adding they would also run candidates in the three troubled western states of Darfur and the contested Abyei border region.

The SPLM nominated Simon Kun Puoc, the current head of the southern government's humanitarian arm, for the oil rich state of Upper Nile, currently the only governorship in the south held by the ruling National Congress Party.

Edward Lino, a former administrator of the contested region of Abyei, would stand in the capital for Khartoum state, Amum said.

The elections were provided for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 between north and south Sudan to end a devastating 22-year civil war that cost the lives of two million people.

The CPA is meant also to pave the way for a referendum on southern independence in January 2011.

Yassir Arman, a secular Muslim from North Sudan, was chosen to fight Omar al-Beshir in the presidential election, the first multi-party ballot since 1986 in Sudan.

For the presidential election of semi-autonomous South Sudan, the SPLM chose the current president of the region Salva Kiir, a former rebel commander who is also first vice president of all Sudan.

AFP