South Sudan’s transitional legislative assembly has passed key amendments to the Constitution, allowing the country to return to 10 states.
The assembly, which is supposed to act as Parliament for the next 30 months, made changes to the supreme law.
This also allows the administration of the three additional areas carved out of the states to be run by appointed officers, but in a hierarchical format where local state governors will have a say.
The move was the necessary legal framework the country needed to make changes to its existing regional administrative units, and to accommodate the demands of opposition groups who will soon be roped into a transitional government of national unity (TGoNU).
“We have just concluded the submission of the amendment of transitional Constitution 2011…We have incorporated the 10 states, plus the previous counties and the three administrative areas, Abyei, Reweng and Greater Pibor,” Mr Paul Yaone, the Head of the Information Committee of the Legislative Assembly, said.
The transitional government will include President Salva Kiir, leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Riek Machar and several opposition groups jointly known as the South Sudan Opposition Alliance.
The Council of Ministers on Wednesday endorsed the legal amendments but they needed a parliamentary ratification to be effected.
When South Sudan gained Independence from Sudan in 2011, it had 10 states which gradually increased to 32.
The opposition was against retaining 32 states and demanded a return to the original 10. The government insisted on retaining the 32, but in a surprise move at the weekend, Kiir agreed to have 10 states, plus three administrative areas.