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  • on 31.01.2011
  • at 11:58 AM
  • by Staff

South Sudan celebrates first referendum results 0

JUBAPreliminary results announced Sunday by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) indicated that 99.57 percent of voters in the ten states of south Sudan voted for independence in the region’s self determination plebiscite.

The figure is higher than the 98.83 percent posted on the SSRC website which that includes the results from northern Sudan and eight countries where southern Sudanese voted from abroad, commission spokesman George Makuer told Reuters.

In the south 3,697,467 voted for independence, with this figure rising to over 3.8 million when including votes from elsewhere. A total of 44,888 voted for unity, 16,129 of which were cast in the south.

While in the north, 57.65 percent (38,003) of voters chose separation, with 42 percent (27,918) voting for unity. However, out of the 116,857 voters who registered in the north, only 69,597 of them voted.

Southern Sudanese in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Australia, Canada, U.S. and UK, showed overwhelming support for separation, with 98.55 percent opting for secession.

Soon after the announcement of the results, thousands of Southern Sudanese cheered and danced during Sunday’s event in Juba, the southern capital, attended by religious leaders, government officials, diplomats, UN, development partners, civil society members, among others.

Security personnel struggled to calm down jubilant citizens, many of whom attempted to join the area occupied by local and international journalists attending the announcement.

The referendum was part of a 2005 peace deal between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP).

While officiating at the colorful event held at John Garang mausoleum, a seemingly delighted president Kiir praised efforts of the SSRC; a body he said worked tirelessly under “difficult circumstances” to deliver the referendum and the results on schedule.

Maburuk Lekum million marra” he said in Arabic, which means congratulations to you one million times.

Reacting to the preliminary figures announced, the South Sudan leader remarked, “the inhumane treatment southerners were subjected to by the northern regime during the long years of war has clearly manifested itself in this overwhelming vote for separation”.

An independent south, Kiir reiterated, will maintain a cordial relationship with the north as twin nations and he emphasized the importance of maintaining peaceful relations with neighbors like Uganda and Kenya.

The southern leader, also Sudan’s first vice-president said attention should now be focused on the Abyei referendum, popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile as well as prospects of peacefully resolving the conflict in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.

Kiir extended his gratitude to the people of southern Sudan for keeping their promise to vote for the independence of their own country.

“No one has forced anybody to vote but today we are witnessing a historic moment that has never happened since the creation of South Sudan, with the results today, I congratulate all of you sons and daughters of this region” he said.

“You have voted for your freedom and to become a true citizen of southern Sudan, if Sudan could be one country still we can remain sisters and brothers with north and continue to share common things” he said.

Kiir prayed for those who had died in south’s struggle but said they had not died in vain.

He went on reassure the people of southern Sudan that, although they had voted for independence there are still some big challenges and problems ahead of the region, which is one of the poorest in the world.

By Julius N. UmaContinue Reading on Sudantribune

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