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Title:Introduction: peace and constitution making in emerging South Sudan on and beyond the negotiation tables
Authors:Seidel, Katrin
Sureau, Timm
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:South Sudan
Subjects:State formation
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2015.1105438
Abstract:This article forms an introduction to a special collection of articles in this issue, entitled 'Emerging South Sudan: negotiating statehood'. The article addresses the question: Does the 'emerging' state South Sudan need a 'permanent' constitution, especially in light of the ongoing negotiations on the mode of statehood? We shed light on the resulting dilemma between the hasty production of a 'permanent' constitution and the idea of deriving its authority from the will of the people, implying the existence of a certain societal consensus. An analysis of a peace conference over land tenure clearly demonstrates that regional and national consensuses on issues to be inscribed in a 'permanent' constitution could not be reached. During this conference, a 'processual solution' permitted not only for the continuation of negotiations, but also for the integration of all involved actors. By contrast, the de jure makings of both the Transitional Constitution which currently serves as the preliminary normative frame of the new state, and the upcoming 'permanent' constitution show that many actors are ousted from the decision-making process. Furthermore, actors on, off, and beyond the constitution-making table negotiate within the normative frames of international actors, even if these frames and the mode of statehood are still under negotiation. The current political and military re-negotiations can be seen as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the constitution-making endeavour. The article argues that a slowing down of the constitution making and a 'processual solution' to the dilemma, without an immediate claim to consent on substance, seems to be a more appropriate 'solution'. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]