South Sudan parliament votes to extend President Kiir’s term

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The South Sudanese parliament on Thursday voted to extend President Salva Kiir’s term in office for another three years. The move keeps him in power until 2021.

The Speaker declared the amendment into law, a move likely to undermine peacetalks that the government has been holding with the opposition in a bid to end the five-year war and form a unity government.

“Now the speaker hereby declares that the transitional constitution amendment… is hereby passed by National Legislature,” Speaker Edward Lino Makana said during a parliament sitting in the capital Juba.

Opposition groups say the move as illegal.

The world’s youngest nation has been dogged by conflict since December 2013, sparked by a feud between President Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar.

Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup against his rule, allegations Machar denied. Machar then went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government.

The war has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions others, prompting the United Nations to rank the country as Africa’s biggest refugee crisis.

Talks between the warring factions led to the signing of a ceasefire earlier this month, raising hope for peace in the country. The dialogue has also resulted in an agreement to reinstate Machar as first vice president, a position he was sacked from after clashes in July 2016.

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