Southern Sudan votes to secede

Updated: 2011-01-31 09:17


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JUBA, Sudan - Close to 99 percent of southern Sudanese chose to secede from the north in a landmark Jan 9-15 referendum, according to the first complete preliminary results announced on Sunday.

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Earlier partial results had put the outcome of the vote beyond doubt but official figures were announced publicly for the first time during a ceremony attended by President Salva Kiir in the southern capital Juba.

The discreet leader, who is to steer southern Sudan to statehood in July after overseeing a six-year transition period, said the victims of the 1983-2005 civil war did not die in vain.

Chan Reec, the chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau in charge of polling in the south, said that 99.57 percent of those who voted in the south chose secession.

Turnout in the south stood at 99 percent and only 16,129 people voted for Africa's largest country to remain united, said Reec, whose announcement was met by cheers from the crowd.

Mohamed Khalil Ibrahim, who chairs the overall referendum commission, said 58 percent of southerners residing in the north and 99 percent of overseas voters chose to break away.

"The results just announced are decisive," he said.


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