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South Sudan referendum counting process nearly ends, separation foregone conclusion
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Jan 23, 2011 - 6:04:33 AM

South Sudan referendum counting process nearly ends, separation foregone conclusion   2011-01-23 21:40:13  FeedbackPrintRSS

by Fayez el-Zaki Hassan

KHARTOUM, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The South Sudan referendum's counting process is coming to its end with the primary results indicating that separation of south Sudan is a foregone conclusion.

The final result will be announced between Feb. 7 and 14. Meanwhile, George Makier, spokesman of the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), said primary results of the referendum showed that around 99 percent of southern Sudanese voters have voted for the region's separation from the north.

"About 98. 8 percent have voted for separation after counting about 98.9 percent of the ballots in the south and 100 percent of the ballots in the north and outside Sudan," Makier told Xinhua.

"There are still thousands of ballots to be counted in south Sudan and we believe the process will not take long," he said.

Makier further stated that the primary results for the referendum in south Sudan would be announced on Jan. 30 while the overall primary results would be announced on Feb. 2, saying "if there were appeals, the final result of the referendum would be announced on Feb. 14, if not, it will be announced on Feb. 7."

According to SSRC figures, between 96 percent and 99.5 percent of voters in southern Sudan states voted for separation. In Unity State, the oil-rich state in south Sudan, around 99.8 percent of the voters have voted for separation.

"The total registered voters in the (Unity) State amounted to 501,120. Among those 498,188 who cast their votes, 497,435 voted for separation," Michel Maibil Shul, head of the state's referendum committee, said in a statement.

In Warab State in south Sudan, the primary results showed that 427,000 out of 470,378 registered voters voted for separation.

The partial result of Jonglei State showed that around 99.93 percent of the voters in the state supported the region's separation. Jonglei State is the home state of John Garang, the historical leader of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

However, these results are still partial as thousands of ballots have not yet been counted.

Anticipating the result of the south Sudan referendum, both north and south Sudan embarked on setting up constitutional and legal arrangements relating to the standing executive and legislative institutions in Sudan in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

In Khartoum, Sudanese Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dousa told reporters that southern Sudanese at the Sudanese National Assembly (parliament) would drop their memberships following the announcement of separation of south Sudan, adding that participation of the southern Sudanese citizens in other state institutions would continue.

He further indicated that the constitution must be amended after the transitional period that scheduled to end on July 9, with the participation of the Sudanese political forces.

Meanwhile, in south Sudan, President of the south Sudanese government Salva Kiir Mayardit ordered to form a technical committee to revise south Sudan constitution and prepare the first transitional constitution for the newly born state, according to Khartoum's daily Al Sahafa.

South Sudan government spokesman Barnaba Benjamin, for his part, said in a statement that "the constitution committee will begin its activities as of Sunday," adding that the main task of the committee is to look into and revise the current constitution and then prepare a transitional constitution until a permanent constitution was approved.

Benjamin said the current south Sudan government would continue till the birth of the new state, anticipated to be on July 9, denying a transitional government in south Sudan would be established after the announcement of the referendum results.
Editor: Yang Lina

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