Political Parties Summit in Southern Sudan
The African Union Panel for Sudan opened a political parties summit in southern Sudan today. The summit is convened in the context of the upcoming elections, in order for the parties to agree and adopt an Electoral Code of Conduct and a Declaration of Common Commitments on key issues facing Sudan.
The Summit includes representatives of all political parties contesting in southern Sudan. There is a parallel meeting of independent gubernatorial candidates.
In his opening statement by AU Panel member, President Pierre Buyoya, congratulated the southern Sudanese on the achievement, and said sceptics would be confounded and that free and fair elections would be possible in southern Sudan. He said,
“Now, for the first time since 1956, all southern Sudanese will enjoy the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights as citizens.
“I congratulate the people of southern Sudan on this magnificent
“During the long years of war, the people of southern Sudan demonstrated that they could never be ruled against their will, and that the destiny of southern Sudan lies in the hands of the people of southern Sudan. This election will be a milestone in making that a reality.”
Pres. Buyoya also said that, whatever the outcome of the referendum in January 2011, democracy was essential. If the people of southern Sudan vote for unity, for sure they want a unity based on democracy. If they vote for secession, they will want a democratic state in southern Sudan.
The full statement is available here: Pres Buyoya opening remarks SMPP