Close to 99 per cent voted for South Sudan split: Results

Close to 99 % South Sudanese voters chose secession from the north.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2011, 23:52 PM IST

Juba: Close to 99 per cent of south Sudanese
voters chose secession from the north in a referendum,
according to preliminary results published Friday with tallies
from two outstanding states.

With 3,197,038 ballots counted, 98.6 per cent had voted
to break away in the January 9-15 referendum and become the
world`s newest nation, partial results posted on the Southern
Sudan Referendum Commission website showed.

Partial results from the last two states that had not yet
published any figures confirmed the trend revealed by
polling officials on Wednesday.

In the state of Jonglei, a whopping 99.93 per cent of
votes were in favour of secession, the figures showed. Only 77
voters supported Sudan`s unity, while 105 people cast blank or
invalid ballots.

The first results from the state of Western Equatoria
also revealed that, based on the votes counted so far, 99.5
per cent chose secession.

The results published today are incomplete -- several
hundred thousand votes remain to be counted to account for the
96 per cent turnout announced by officials earlier this week
-- and final results are due next month.

"Some few counties still remain to submit their results,
so the figures are not complete yet, and we are continuing to
work hard to finalise the results," said Aleu Garang Aleu,
spokesman for the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau, which is
running the vote in the south.

Some south Sudanese also voted in the north and abroad.

"We are still expecting that the results for the south
will be released on January 31, and, allowing time for any
appeals, the final result will be announced in Khartoum on
February 14," he said.

The independence vote was the centrepiece of a 2005 peace
deal between the Khartoum government and southern rebels that
ended a devastating 22-year civil war, the latest round of
fighting in five decades of conflict between the mainly
Muslim, Arab north and the mainly Christian, African south.