Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, ending two decades of war between Sudan's central government and the Southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army. The CPA shares wealth and power between Sudan's powerful centre, a newly autonomous South, and Sudan's other vast, diverse, impoverished peripheries. The bold peace gave new legitimacy to the two parties, who agreed to face their first competitive elections in 2009. Southern Sudan will have a referendum on self-determination in 2011.
Four years into the CPA's six-year interim period, the ceasefire holds. A new Government of Southern Sudan is financed from Sudan's oil wealth. At the centre, former adversaries share power in a Government of National Unity. But the CPA's flaws are now conspicuous. It was an exclusive bilateral deal between the country's biggest military-political groups. Elections should include excluded groups, but stalled progress on election planning and restrictions on constitutional freedoms have limited expectations of the vote. Ambitious plans to invest in the impoverished periphery have not created tangible changes. National reconciliation has been shelved. And the violence in Darfur has not been resolved.