By Ria Novosti
Preliminary results from the landmark South Sudan’s referendum show that 99% of voters are in favor of independence, a spokesman for the commission said.
The Sudanese referendum, which may lead to Africa’s largest nation of around 44 million people splitting into two independent states, began on January 9. The vote, which was monitored by more than 20,000 observers and over 1,000 journalists from around the world, ended on January 15.
The spokesman said out of 300,000 people registered for the poll in the Al Buhayrat province a total of 298,000 voted for the independence. Some 97.5% supported independence from the north in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.
Even in the northern region, where people were more likely to back the country’s unity, only 0.086% voted against the independence.
The preliminary results of the referendum in 10 provinces of South Sudan are expected to be officially announced on January 31. The final results of the vote are expected by mid-February.
The 1983-2005 civil war in Sudan killed an estimated 2 million people and caused significant displacement of the different ethnic groups in the country.
The majority of Southern Sudanese belong to various culture and language tribes, however, most speak Arabic as do their Northern neighbors. Most of the Southerners voted to gain independence.
Southern Sudan’s vast oil deposits have long made its independence an issue of concern in the North. However, the official Sudanese government has pledged to recognize the results of the referendum regardless of its outcome.