Monday, February 7, 2011

South Sudan Overwhelmingly Votes for Secession from North, Gains Independence

Year 2011 seems to be starting off as a "year of change" for Africans.The war-torn and oil dependent country of Sudan will undergo significant changes this year amid the results of a landslide vote from South Sudan to secede from the north.  Southern Sudan is jubilant over the outcome of gaining its independence after enduring genocide, oppression and slavery under the regime of wanted war-crimes criminal President Omar Al-Bashir and the Khartoum government. Salva Kiir the President of Government of Southern Sudan urged the Sudanese people to be patient until their independence becomes official on July 9th.

"This is our day for freedom. We are ready to celebrate all night long," Santino Machar, a student, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Official figures released on Monday showed that 98.83 per cent of voters from the south chose to secede from the north.

The results, displayed at an announcement ceremony in Khartoum, revealed that out of 3,837,406 valid ballots cast, only 44,888 votes, or 1.17 per cent, favoured the status quo of unity with the north.

The event in the Sudanese capital was attended by Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, and Salva Kiir, the southern leader.

"Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results because they represent the will of the southern people," al-Bashir said on state television.

"But we are committed to the links between the north and the south, and we are committed to good relations based on co-operation."

His comments reflect the economic dependence between the two: southern Sudan, which is rich in oil, cannot export its oil resources without using a pipeline that runs through the north.

The January 9-15 vote came six years after north and south Sudan ended a civil war spanning more than two decades, which left at least two million people dead.

It has been seen as the climax of the 2005 peace deal, which set out to reunite the country and instill democracy.

A formal declaration of independence will be made on 9 July.

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