BBC News, Juba
South Sudan’s main opposition party has set a mandatory 40% quota for women, its leader Riek Machar has said.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) said the move was informed by the contribution women made in the struggle for independence from Sudan.
The party joined the country’s unity government in February last year in a peace deal aimed at ending six years of civil war. The unity government is in power for a transitional three-year period that will end in fresh elections.
“Women were with male soldiers in the front line… So let’s raise the bar to 40%. Officially, let’s put it in our resolutions that the affirmative action is going to be 40%,” Mr Machar said.
The party held its first national conference in the capital, Juba.
The five-day meeting was attended by 1,399 delegates from the 10 regional states and the three administrative areas.
“We can also bring other women on party list and others on geographical list. We have very strong women who can stand in the geographical constituencies and beat the men [in elections],” Dr Machar added.
The delegates also endorsed the appointment of Regina Joseph Kapa as interim Secretary-General of SPLM-IO. Her appointment comes after Tingo Peter resigned last month.