VOA – Southern Sudan referendum officials say preliminary results show almost all voters chose to secede from the north in a referendum earlier this month.
Figures published on the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission’s website, accounting for all of the ballots cast in Sudan’s north and the south, gave secession nearly 99 (98.83) percent of the vote. It was not immediately clear if that figure included votes from the diaspora.
Results were being announced publicly for the first time Sunday during a ceremony in the southern capital, Juba, attended by the south’s president, Salva Kiir.
Reuters news agency reports 5 of the 10 states in southern Sudan had a 99.9 percent vote for separation, while the voters in the state of Bahr al-Ghazal, bordering northern Sudan, voted 95.5 percent in favor of secession.
The final official results are expected on February 14.
The referendum was promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan’s north-south civil war.
Northern leaders have said they will accept the referendum’s results.
The sides still have a number of issues to resolve, especially the fate of the oil-producing Abyei region, which sits along the north-south border.