Norwegian envoy calls for open civic space ahead of would-be 2024 elections
The Norwegian Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Jon Anton Johnson, on Friday called on South Sudan political leaders to create a conducive political and civic space for the conduct of free and fair elections in 2024.
JUBA, OCTOBER 13, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – The Norwegian Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Jon Anton Johnson, on Friday called on South Sudan political leaders to create a conducive political and civic space for the conduct of free and fair elections in 2024.
The Norwegian diplomat made the call on Friday afternoon during a press conference concluding a two-day visit to South Sudan’s capital Juba.
“It is extremely important to have a conducive environment to open up political and civil space is a clear precondition and of course, it is a matter of exactly how elections are conducted,” Johnson told journalist.
He stressed that opening up of political and civic space is a key pre-condition for conduct of free, fair, and credible elections.
“We are moving closer to elections, and we have got assurances that there is no lack of political will in order to get to elections. According to the peace agreement the civil and political space should be open in order to conduct elections,” he said.
Johnson also called on the country’s leadership to reconstitute key electoral institutions to run the 2024 elections and warned of the risk of increased violence if perquisites for the conduct of elections are not put in place.
“The conditions for elections are extremely important and we will follow that closely from the Norwegian side and from the side of Troika and the International Community,” he said.
“It is extremely important that South Sudan solve its disagreements and its conflict of interest in a peaceful manner. The history of this country has told us it is easy to violence, it should be avoided by all means,” he added.
He further urged political leaders to resolve any disagreement around elections amicably without returning the country back to war.
For her part, Linken Nymann Berryman, Norwegian Ambassador to South Sudan said security goes along with open political and civil space.
“The security also that goes along with an open political and civil space must be supported by security that people feel safe to say what they need to say with the feeling of rights to say for the betterment of this country,” Berryman said.
During his visit, Johnson engaged in discussions with President Salva Kiir Mayardit, his first deputy and leader of the main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Riek Machar, other senior government officials, and key stakeholders including representatives of the civil society.
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