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RADIO TAMAZUJ - 5 Oct 2015

Explaining the S Sudan peace agreement (5): What are the roles of the President and 1st VP?

'Focus on the Agreement' is a new daily segment broadcast on Radio Tamazuj to explain the contents of the peace agreement signed in August 2015 between South Sudan's warring parties. Many South Sudanese have never read the agreement or heard any detailed explanation of what it says. 'Focus on the Agreement' summarizes key parts of the deal in daily broadcasts, not translating every detail but highlighting the basics.

In our previous episode we looked at the composition of the new government, including the political parties and armed groups that have agreed to participate. Today we explain the functions of the president and first vice president during the transitional period.

Roles of the President and First Vice President

President Salva Kiir will continue to serve as president throughout the transitional period, according to the peace agreement. Chapter 1, Article 5 of the agreement defines his functions and powers.

He will represent South Sudan internationally as the head of state and he will also serve as commander-in-chief of the South Sudan National Defense Forces.

The president will appoint senior government officials in accordance with the terms of the peace agreement. He will appoint undersecretaries of the ministries in consultation with the first vice president and after approval of the cabinet.

For the most part, the legal powers of the president remain unchanged from his current powers under the constitution of 2011.

Meanwhile, Chapter 1, Article 6 of the Agreement creates the position of First Vice President, which likely will be filled by Riek Machar.

The first vice president will be responsible for supervising the implementation of the peace agrement and will have several other powers as defined by the agreement.

These include overseeing implementation of laws passed by the national legislature, chairing sub-committees of the cabinet, and following up cabinet decisions with relevant ministries and institutions to ensure their implementation.

Additionally, he will serve as commander-in-chief of the South Sudanese armed opposition forces until the establishment of a unified military command.

The position of First Vice President will always be nominated by the SPLM-in-Opposition. Likewise, if the position of president falls vacant for any reason, the new president will be chosen by the SPLM faction currently led by Salva Kiir. The first vice president will not inherit the position.