Electoral/Political Party Reform: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Chapter II: Power Sharing (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 26th May, 2004)

1.4 The Parties agree that the following principles shall guide the distribution of powers and the establishment of structures:

1.4.6 Recognizing the need to legitimize the arrangements agreed to herein, fair electoral laws shall be adopted, including the free establishment of political parties. Elections at all levels of government shall be held by universal adult suffrage.

2.2.3 The National Legislature shall be structured and operate as follows:-

2.2.3.1 The National Assembly shall be elected in accordance with the procedures set forth by an impartial. and representative Electoral Commission and in accordance with fair electoral laws;

2.10 Other Independent and/or National Institutions to be Established in Accordance with the Peace Agreement:

2.10.1 The National Constitutional Review Commission, as detailed in Section 2.12 herein, shall also detail the mandate and provide for the appointment and other mechanisms to ensure the independence of the following institutions:-

2.10.1.1 An impartial and representative National Electoral Commission;

Implementation History

2005

Minimum Implementation

The 2005 CPA in Sudan sought several reforms related to political parties and electoral laws and institutions, including establishment of an impartial and representative election commissions. The election was scheduled for 2009 and no progress was made in terms of implementing the electoral system and political party reform provision of the 2005 CPA.1 Nevertheless, the July 2005 interim constitution secures universal adult suffrage (article 42(2)). 

  • 1. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2006.
2006

Minimum Implementation

The election was scheduled for 2009 and no progress was made in terms of implementing the electoral system and political party reform provision of the 2005 CPA.

2007

Intermediate Implementation

The national assembly adopted the Political Parties Act on 6 February 2007. The Debate over the Political Parties Act was very contentious especially on issues related to registration and dissolution of the parties. Initially, the draft bill had provisions that the court could dissolve political parties. This issue was resolved by requiring the dissolution of political parties upon the decision of the Constitutional Court on the basis of a case raised by a two-third majority of the Political Parties Council, if it is proven before the court that the party violated article 40(3) of Interim National Constitution. The provision, however, was refused by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The National Congress Party demanded tougher requirement for party registration (Article 4 of the Act). The Act was adopted in the absence of NDA. The Act was signed by the president on 6 February 2007.2 The Act repeals the Political Parties and Organizations Act of 2001 and establishes a Council known as Political Parties Affairs Act. 

  • 2. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2009.
2008

Intermediate Implementation

On July 7 2008, the National Assembly passed the National Elections Act by 350 votes and 14 opposed, while two legislators abstained. The total number of MPs who participated in the vote was 366.3 The National Election Act adopts a mixed electoral system with 60% of National Assembly’s 450 members elected through the majority votes in geographical constituencies and 40% by proportional representation party lists, of which 25% was allocated to a separate women’s party list and 15% for political party lists. For the PR seats, the parties must receive 4% of the overall votes. This act was signed into law on 14 July 2008.4 Chapter Two of the Election Act provides for the establishment of an independent National Election Commission. The commission is composed of nine members appointed by the president with consultation of First-Vice President and approval of two-third members of the National Assembly. The National Election Commission’s composition is said to be inclusive of representation by including women and other civil society groups.

On November 17 2008, the National Assembly endorsed the members of the National Election Commission. The endorsed members were Abel Alier, Chairman; Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah, Deputy Chairman; and Fillister Baya, Mahassin Haj Al-Saffi, James Bol Kajmal, Abdallah Ballah Al-Hardalou, Mohamed Taha Abu Samrah, Mukhtar Al-Asam and Al-Hadi Mohamed Ahmed Hassabou.5

  • 3. "Sudan Parliament Passes Election Law," BBC Monitoring Middle East, July 8, 2008.
  • 4. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2009.
  • 5. Ibid.
2009

Full Implementation

With the establishment of an independent National Election Commission in 2008, political party and electoral system reform provisions of the 2005 CPA were fully implemented. Nevertheless, the National Election Commission delayed general election until February 2010. The election was originally scheduled for July of 2009. For the second time, the Election Commission, on 30 June 2009, released a revised electoral calendar and rescheduled the election for 5-12 April 2010.6

  • 6. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, June 2009.
2010

Full Implementation

Elections were held in April 2010 as scheduled. In the National Assembly, the National Congress party won a total of 312 seats, the SPLM won 99 seats, the Popular Congress Party won four seats, Federal UMMA Party won three seats, the Democratic Unionist Party won four seats, Democratic Unionist Party-Original won one seat, SPLM-DC won two seats, UMMA Reform & Development two seats, National UMMA Party won one seat, independent candidate won one seat, and the Muslim Brotherhood won one seat.7

  • 7. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, May 2010.
2011

Full Implementation

The provisions became obsolete with the secession of southern Sudan in 9 July 2011.