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South Sudan Government Wants to Amend Constitution

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir displays the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan after signing it into law during Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011. Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla has proposed several amendments to the constitution.

South Sudan Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla on Tuesday introduced a bill in parliament to amend the country's constitution to incorporate the 28 states created by a presidential order earlier this month, and allow President Salva Kiir to appoint the new states' governors and lawmakers.

The current constitution says there are 10 states and stipulates that governors and lawmakers are elected by the people.

Opposition lawmakers immediately rejected Wanawilla's proposal, saying it went against the very constitution that it is trying to amend.

​Onyito Adigo, the minority leader in parliament, said the changes that are being proposed by the justice minister would also go against the peace agreement signed by President Kiir on August 26, and ratified by South Sudanese lawmakers last month.

National Assembly Speaker Manasseh Magok Rundial sent the amendment bill to a committee, which will study it for 30 days. After that, the bill is expected to come back to parliament for debate. The ruling SPLM party has a clear majority in parliament and the amendment is expected to pass.