Wednesday, 12 January 2011

South Sudan reaches 60 per cent voting rate

According to a report by Khartoum's Al Sahafa newspaper, the voting rate in south Sudan's independence referendum has reached 60 per cent in the south, 30 per cent in the north and 63 per cent in eight overseas countries.

"The rate of the voters who cast their votes in south Sudan amounted to 60 percent," said Chairman of South Sudan Referendum Bureau, Riek Chan.

Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM) deputy secretary general, Ann Itto, also confirmed the 60 per cent turnout, but said the group had been hoping to achieve a 100 per cent attendance.

The independence vote was agreed as part of the 2005 peace treaty, which ended two-decades of civil war and saw the running of the region in the hands of the SPLM. It is widely thought that the vote will approve secession, the preliminary results are expected to be announced at the beginning of next month and the final results before 15th February. It is estimated that almost 4 million people registered to vote in the south, the surrounding regions and abroad.

South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) spokesman Suaad Ibrahim Iyssa confirmed that the voting rate in north Sudan, during the past three days, reached 30 per cent with around 30,000 turning up to cast their ballot. He also said that polling centres overseas recorded a turnout of around 37,000 voters out of the 60,000 registered. The biggest turnout, however, was in the south with a 60 per cent attendance rate, despite outbreaks of violence and unrest.

Source: BBC News, Xinhuanet, Sudan Tribute, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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