Home | News    Monday 14 December 2009

Sudan referendum law endorsed in cabinet, 51% ‘Yes’ vote & 60% turnout required

December 13, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese cabinet today headed by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir unanimously approved in its extraordinary meeting Sunday evening the draft bill of the Act on Referendum in South Sudan, the Act on Referendum in Abyei and the Act of People’s Consultation in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.

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Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) secretary general Pagan Amum (R) and Nafie Ali Nafie, presidential advisor and member of the northern ruling National Congress Party, address a news conference in the capital Khartoum December 13, 2009 (Reuters)

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) said that the law package will be tabled Monday before the National Assembly for ratification.

The development followed announcement by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the NCP that they have reached an agreement on a number of disputed issues after days of marathonic talks between senior figures on both sides.

“We announce an agreement between the two partners on all points, which had been a source of disagreement on the referendum law in south Sudan,” said Nafie Ali Nafie, deputy head of Khartoum’s NCP.

The two parties also agreed to “look into the national security and intelligence law in order to reach an agreement,” Nafie said, without elaborating.

Under the referendum deal struck, a 60% turnout of registered voters and a 51% yes vote will declare the independence of South Sudan valid. Initially the NCP wanted between 75%-90% yes vote and a two thirds turnout arguing that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) says that the secession choice should be made difficult.

The full details of the agreement will be announced after consultation with all political forces in Sudan, Amum said, adding that the SPLM MP’s who have boycotted parliament for over a month would start attending sessions “within 24 hours”.

The SPLM and a coalition of Northern opposition parties have attempted to stage a demonstration last Monday that was curbed by Sudanese authorities leading to the arrest of senior SPLM figures.

The agreement throws into doubt the fate of another demonstration planned for tomorrow by the same political parties which was made for the purpose of protesting the failure to agree on a package of democratic reforms bills ahead of next April’s elections and on a procedural law for the south’s referendum scheduled for January 2011.

Ibrahim Ghandour, a senior figure in the NCP, warned the SPLM that any attempt to stage a demonstration on Monday will nullify the agreements that were made.

He added that the agreement stipulated that the SPLM will not be part of any protest as long as the outstanding issues have been resolved.

An unidentified SPLM official told the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that they “got what they wanted” adding that the protests plans will be likely be suspended.

On Friday the NCP warned that they are prepared to go to war if all fails with SPLM.

“We have offered 40,000 martyrs and are prepared to offer 100,000 martyrs,” Nafi said at a rally in the Sudanese capital.

(ST)