February 2, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), which organized last month’s vote on the region’s independence, today officially announced the full preliminary results of the exercise whose outcome is certainly in favor of independence.
- Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) chairperson Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil speaks during a news conference following the end of referendum votes on southern secession as he prepares to announce the results in Khartoum January 25, 2011 (Reuters Pictures)
Polls for south Sudan referendum opened on 9 January and closed on 15 January at 3000 polling stations domestically and eight Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) locations, including Uganda, Kenya, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, the UK and the US.
The vote exceeded the 60% turnout required to validate the results and southerners voted massively for secession.
In a press conference held on Wednesday at the SSRC’s headquarters, the commission’s chairperson Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil said that 3.851.994 out of 3.947.676 people who registered to vote had cast their ballots, putting the turnout at 97.85%.
Khalil went on break down the figures saying that the total number of registered voters in the south was 3.770.600 voters out of which 3.724.194, i.e. 98.77%, turned up to vote.
According to Khalil, 16.129 of southerners in the south, 0.43%, voted for unity while a vast majority of 3.697.467 voted for secession, 99.57%.
In north Sudan, however, a relatively weak turnout has been reported. SSRC chairperson said that 69.597 voters out of 116.857 registered voters had cast their ballots, only 59.56%. He further noted that 27.918 people had voted for unity, 42.35%, while 38.003 voted for secession, 57.65%.
In OCV stations, 58.203 out of 60.219 registered voters participated, 98.55% voted for secession, 57.048 voters, and 1.45% for secession, 841 voters, according to Khalil.
SSRC chief confirmed that the final result would be announced on 7 February - if no legal challenges against the results are submitted - or on 14 February if legal appeals are lodged.
He said that the Supreme Courts in Khartoum and Juba would open the door for receiving appeals as of tomorrow, Thursday.
However he added that he did not expect any appeals to be submitted in the next few days.
South Sudan referendum on independence is the culmination of the 2005’s peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between north and south Sudan.