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97% of Darfurians voted for the current administrative status: DRC

April 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Darfur Referendum Commission (DRC) on Saturday said that 97 per cent of the registered voters in the region’s administrative referendum chose to retain the status quo states system.

Women wait to cast their vote at a polling station at the Abu Shouq camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in El-Fasher, in North Darfur on April 11, 2016 (Photo AFP)

The announcement was made at a press conference in Khartoum amid a remarkable presence of senior government officials and Darfur governors.

DRC chairman Omer Ali Gamaa said that 97,7 per cent of voters chose to keep the current system while 2,2 per cent voted in favour of the single region option.

In accordance with Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed in July 2011, Darfur residents voted during three days (from 11-to 13 April) to determine whether they want to keep the current separate five states or re-establish one region.

Gamaa pointed that the turn out reached 3,153,896 votes saying 3,081,976 people voted to retain the current status while 71,920 people voted to return to the single region.

He stressed that voting was held in amid stable security conditions in Darfur’s five states, saying the national and foreign observers described the process as a success.
Meanwhile, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in North Darfur state capital, El-Fasher has celebrated the result of the referendum.

NCP political secretary in North Darfur al-Tahir al-Zain told Sudan Tribune that their constituency went in spontaneous celebrations with the participation of several political parties.

Abdallah Mekki, a local chief from Rwanda IDPs camp in Tawila area, 60 km west of El-Fasher told Sudan Tribune that the IDPs received the results with great joy.

He pointed that the young people in the camp celebrated the results particularly as 99, 83 percent of the IDPs voted in favor of retaining the status quo, stressing they would organize a big celebration in the presence of North Darfur state governor.

Several people in the various localities of South Darfur state told Sudan Tribune that the result was already well known.

Ahmed Suleiman, a resident from Al-Salam locality, 40 km west of South Darfur state capital, Nayala said that only one person out of the 12,000 eligible voters had voted for the one region option.

The head of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) and leader of National Liberation and Justice Tijani al-Sissi who campaigned for one region in Darfur was not reachable for comment.

His party said they will issue a statement on the vote once the results of all the polling centers are verified and published.

The referendum was held amid large boycott from opposition parties, armed groups and IDPs camps.

The three main rebel groups fighting in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) led by Minni Minnawi, and the (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur accused the government of rigging the vote in its favour to keep Darfur split into several states.