Submitted by Angela Stephens, USAID Africa Bureau
Provisional results announced in Juba Sunday for the referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan indicate that southern Sudanese voted overwhelmingly to secede and form a new nation. Of more than 3.8 million votes cast, nearly 99 percent chose secession, and just over 1 percent chose unity with northern Sudan.
Southern Sudan Referendum Commission Chairman Professor Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil and Deputy Chairman Justice Chan Reec Madut, who is also chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau in Juba, jointly declared provisional results of the referendum, which is part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended more than two decades of civil war in Sudan.
“The people of South Sudan are … indebted to the government and people of the United States of America, USAID,” Justice Chan said in remarks at the announcement. “The Southern Sudan referendum on self-determination could not have taken place on time without the support of the international community,” he said. “Our international partners and friends put in robust material, technical, and moral support that is still literally lapping on our doorsteps.”
USAID provided comprehensive assistance to help carry out the referendum, including technical and material assistance, civic and voter education, and support for domestic and international observation of the process, and funded out-of-country registration and voting in eight diaspora countries, including the United States. This assistance is part of USAID’s broad goal of supporting peace in Sudan, including by helping to implement all provisions of the CPA.
Final results of the referendum are expected to be announced February 7 in Khartoum if no legal challenges are filed, and February 14 if legal challenges must first be addressed. If secession is the final outcome of the referendum, establishment of a new nation would not occur before July 9, 2011, when the CPA expires.
Read more about USAID’s programs in Sudan.