South Sudan voters chose secession

More than 99 per cent voted in favour of secession from the north in January referendum, preliminary results show.


Final results from the January 9-15 referendum are expected early next month
AFP PHOTO / UNAMID / ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

Close to 99 per cent of those who cast their ballots in south Sudan’s referendum voted in favour of secession from the north, a referendum official has said.
“The vote for separation was 99.57 per cent,” Chan Reek Madut, the deputy head of the commission organising the vote, told cheering crowds on Sunday in the first official announcement of preliminary results.
The figure did not include voters in north Sudan and other countries, a small proportion of the electorate. Final results from the January 9-15 referendum are expected early next month.
Five of the 10 states in Sudan’s oil-producing south showed a 99.9 per cent vote for separation and the lowest vote was 95.5 per cent in favour in the western state of Bahr al-Ghazal which borders north Sudan, according to the preliminary results.

According to the commission website, 3,851,994 votes were cast during the week-long vote.

Hundreds of officials and diplomats had gathered at the grave of John Garang, a rebel leader, for the announcement.

“The prayer I say the people of Southern Sudan have been waiting for for 55 years, the prayer of a country,” Episcopalian Archbishop Daniel Deng said as he opened the ceremony.

“Bless the name of this land, southern Sudan,” he said.

The referendum was promised in a 2005 peace agreement that ended more than two decades of conflict between the Christian-dominated south and the mainly Arab Muslim north.

Rebel leader Garang died in a plane crash just days after signing the deal.


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