Kiir to run for president

2010-01-15 14:06
Juba - Sudan's First Vice President Salva Kiir will run for president of south Sudan in elections in April, leaving the post of national president to be contested by a lower-ranking northern member of his party.

Kiir's decision is seen as a signal that southern politicians have prioritised running the semi-autonomous south, which is widely expected to secede when it votes in an independence referendum next year.

Having spent little time in Khartoum, Kiir had always been expected to remain as president in the oil-producing south.

The leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), a former southern rebel group, became Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's deputy in 2005 when a north-south peace deal ended two decades of civil war.

The fighting claimed 2 million lives, drove 4 million from their homes and destabilised much of north Africa. The growing fragility of the peace deal has led to fears of renewed conflict.

"The SPLM nominee for the position of President of the Republic is Yasir Saeed Arman and the nominee for the President of Southern Sudan is the Chairman of the SPLM Salva Kiir," SPLM Secretary-General Pagan Amum said on Friday.

Accused of oppression

Maggie Fick of the US-based anti-genocide group the Enough Project said the nominations would be seen as a signal that the SPLM's priorities are in the south.

"It is difficult not to read it that way," she said.

Since the SPLM formed a coalition government with their one-time northern foes, the National Congress Party, Arman has been the face of his party in Khartoum, heading the SPLM's parliamentary group and acting as a spokesperson.

Kiir has shown little interest in the affairs of the north, intervening only when delays in implementing the peace deal reached crisis level, earning him the title of "vice absent" rather than first vice president.

"We want Kiir to continue being the president of the south to take the people of the south to the referendum ... Yasir Arman is a long term SPLM cadre and a capable leader and our best candidate," the SPLM's Amum added.

Although the 2005 north-south peace deal was signed under the slogan of making unity attractive, little has been implemented with good will, fuelling mistrust among southerners of the northern government they had long accused of oppression.

Democratic transformation

A Muslim who joined the rebels over disillusionment with a succession of military, corrupt and dictatorial Khartoum governments, Arman will run against fellow Muslim Bashir.

Bashir hopes to legitimise his position after the International Criminal Court last year issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes in Darfur.

The SPLM is thought to have chosen a northerner to run for the presidency as few in the mainly Muslim north would vote for a Christian southerner.

The imposition of Islamic sharia law in 1983 fuelled the rebellion by southerners who follow mostly traditional beliefs or Christianity.

With millions of southerners who fled the war to seek refuge in the north and hundreds of thousands of northerners who have shown support for the SPLM, Arman may be a leading candidate for the presidency.

The elections promise democratic transformation, but with one of the most complex electoral systems in the world and the opposition accusing the ruling NCP of fraud in the registration process, few are optimistic Sudan will see real change.

Read more on:    sudan  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...

 

Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to idealise and prepare for the future rather than face the present. Right now life is putting challenges in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.