August 9, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese rival warring parties in the resumed peace talks in Addis Ababa have presented different power sharing percentages in which each side sought majority representation in the proposed transitional government of national unity.
- South Sudan’s rival forces resumed peace talks on 6 August, as international pressure mounts ahead of an August 17 deadline to strike a deal to end 19 months of civil war. (Photo AFP)
“The negotiations have started. The two sides have gone into the real and tough engagement now. They all want to reach the peace agreement this time because both of them have challenges which they are trying to escape if they sign a peace [agreement],” leading member of the civil society alliance participating in the talks told Sudan Tribune on Sunday from the venue of the talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia .
The government, according to the activist, was keen to sign a peace deal which would not undermine the executive powers of the president and avoid demilitarization of the national capital, Juba, as well as the proposition of the two armies under separate command from the president as the commander in chief, whether during pre-interim period or during interim period.
He said the government was however willing to make compromise on the power percentage in the oil-rich Upper Nile region.
“From what I see, the government could sign the peace because it is already seen by some people in the country and also some western powers as an illegitimate government because it has no mandate from the people,” he said.
The life of the current government, the civil society activist said, was extended by the national legislature whose period had also elapsed, adding that from the legal and constitutional point of view, it was not right that another legally challengeable institution extended the term of another legally challengeable institution.
“The term of the assembly had expired, so was the term of the office of the president,” he explained.
This, he said, was one of the factors which would persuade the government to sign the peace so as to get new mandate through a peace agreement that will allow the conduct of new elections after the end of the transitional period.
Another factor, he added, was the international threat of government with the sanctions. On the side of the rebels, he pointed, the issue of sanctions and the latest reports of sharp division within the leadership would force them to make some compromise and accept peace deal.
The activist explained that both the government and armed opposition representatives demanded bigger percentages of power in a transitional government than what the mediating team had offered.
He said the government proposed to be given 70% of power sharing in the proposed transitional government and proposed only 20% to be given to the rebels and 10% to other political parties.
“Interestingly, they did not include a percentage to the former detainees. I think it is because they consider them as part of the government since they have returned to Juba,” said the activist.
Also, the rebel representatives in the talks have asked for 70% of power sharing in the government of national unity. They gave the government 20% and the remaining 10% to other political parties. They also did not mention former detainees in their proposal.
The proposals presented by the two main warring parties, he said, were not compatible to or in an agreement with the proposal of the regional mediating team which proposed different power percentages to both parties to the conflict.
After the last round of peace talks for South Sudan failed back in March, IGAD mediation drafted a compromise agreement that proposed that the government should have 53% of ministerial portfolios in a transitional government, the SPLM-IO should have 33%, and former detainees, majority of whom have returned to the country, with other political parties share 14%.
Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the credibility of the information, as none of the members of the delegation of the two parties was able to provide official comments on their presentations on power sharing percentages.
Several of their representatives however confirmed each had presented a proposal seeking majority representation in the proposed government of national unity, saying these proposals were subject for revision.