At least thirteen South Sudanese political parties are discussing the possibility of forming a single party ahead the general elections schedule for 2015, an opposition figure said on Tuesday.We have been holding [a] series of serious discussions over the past months from which we came out with a consensus to emerge and form a single political party. What we are still discussing is the name of the party and who should be the flag bearer to contest the next general elections", said the member of the opposition who spoke on condition of anonymity.
South Sudan has several opposition parties but they have almost no political influence and power. The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - the political wing of the rebel movement that fought various Khartoum governments for over a decade until a 2005 peace deal paved the way for South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011 - dominates the political landscape.Although opposition parties are allowed, they are widely considered to having little chance of gaining political influence. There are presently more than 23 political parties, according to the registry with political parties’ council office, most of which do not have offices.
The SPLM is still not registered as a political party as it has failed to agree on its constitution and other vital documents as its national convention has been repeatedly delayed.Tensions within the ruling party centre around at at least three senior figures who wished to challenge President Salva Kiir for the chairmanship of the party. The issues came to a head in a meeting on December 15 after which fighting broke out with the South Sudanese army, triggering the current conflict which has displaced over half a million people and killed some 10,000 people according to the International Crisis Group.
The second largest party, judging by the result of the 2010 general election, is the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) led by Lam Akol, which broke away from the SPLM in 2009. The SPLM-DC won five seats compared to the SPLM’s 160. Seven seats went to independents.Other political parties include; The South Sudan Labour Party, United Democratic Front, South Sudan Democratic Forum, South Sudan Democratic Front, South Sudan African Party, Sudan African National Union, South Sudan Community Party, United Democratic Party, United South Sudan Party, United Democratic Salvation Front among others.
Opposition figures do not want to announce the names of the parties in the new coalition because they were still conducting consultations over the name of the new group and deciding on a leader who will be able attract voters.Once identified, he said, the presidential candidate would contest the presidential election on behalf of the coalition parties. In the 2010 election the SPLM incumbent Salva Kiir won almost 93% of the vote. The SPLM-DC’s Lam Akol was his only challenger.
Source: Sudan Tribune