JUBA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's parliament on Thursday voted to extend President Salva Kiir's term and that of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) for another three years.
Anthony Lino Makana, the Speaker of the South Sudan Parliament, declared the Constitutional Amendment bill No.5 2018 as passed into law after members of parliament from the dominant ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) overwhelmingly voted to extend the tenure of the transitional government until 2022.
"The (Parliament) Speaker hereby declare that the Transitional Constitutional Amendment bill No.5 for the year 2018 is hereby passed by the national legislature," Makana said in Juba.
South Sudanese Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla Unango had earlier this month presented the bill to parliament seeking to extend the duration of the Transitional National Assembly, the term of President, First Vice president and state governors for another three years which expires in August according to the terms of the now weakened 2015 Peace Agreement signed between Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.
The main rebel group the SPLM/A-in opposition led by Machar and nine other opposition groups recently rejected the extension of President Kiir's government arguing that it works against the spirit of ongoing dialogue between the warring parties and efforts by the East African bloc IGAD to mediate peaceful end to the more than four years conflict.
Paul Yoane Bonju, the chairperson of the information committee in the transitional national assembly, said the motion was moved to prevent a political void since the term of the current government comes to an end in August.
Bonju said the two houses unanimously passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Thursday, extending the government's mandate for 36 months with immediate effect.
South Sudan was supposed to hold elections in July 2015 but the plan was interrupted after the world's newest nation descended into civil war in late 2013.
The country's parliament in March 2015 amended the South Sudan Transitional Constitution, 2011 and extended Salva Kiir's government until July.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April 2016 and provided that elections be held within 50 months.
But the pact was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016, with local and international observers including the UN and the African Union warning that the current environment in the East African country does not permit conduct of credible elections.
Kiir's administration said in April that it would go ahead with general elections in case peace talks with the various opposition groups fails.