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Sudan Referendum Commission to Announce Final Results Monday

Southern Sudanese celebrate the announcement of preliminary referendum results in the southern capital of Juba, January 30, 2011.
Southern Sudanese celebrate the announcement of preliminary referendum results in the southern capital of Juba, January 30, 2011.

An official of South Sudan’s Referendum Commission said senior members of the organization are scheduled to meet President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his cabinet in the capital, Khartoum, before announcing the outcome of the landmark referendum late Monday.

Commission spokesman George Benjamin told VOA the country’s High Court paved the way for the commission to announce the outcome of the referendum after notifying the organization that there were no legal challenges to the results of the week-long vote.

“The final results of the southern Sudan referendum will be announced today, the 7th of February, in Khartoum at 7:30 in the evening. It will be attended by dignitaries, members of the government of southern Sudan and of the federal government, representatives of the U.N., and international agencies, the African Union the Arab League and all other regional and local agencies in the Sudan,” said Benjamin.

He also denied previous reports that opponents of the referendum commission’s work are legally challenging the outcome of the landmark vote.

“Nobody challenged the outcome of the referendum. In fact, we received an official notification from the High Court telling the commission that they have not received any complaints from anybody, from any quarters, at the time given for that purpose, and that, now, the commission can go ahead to complete the rest of the processes and the rest of the measures that are left,” said Benjamin.

“So now, clearly and legally, the ground has been cleared by the High Court. Nobody went to it, nobody raised any complaints and, therefore, we will just go ahead to declare the results immediately, and this will be the final results of the referendum.”

Before the week-long vote, concerned groups from southern Sudan petitioned the Constitutional Court to dissolve the commission after claiming they possess documented evidence showing violations during the voter registration.

The groups also claim the violations will undermine the credibility of both the voters list and the January referendum. The court did not officially begin investigations into the allegations and, later, threw out the charges.

Preliminary results released so far by the commission show an overwhelming number of southerners chose south Sudan’s separation over the country’s unity.

Benjamin said his commission is satisfied with its work in organizing what poll observers describe as a credible, free and fair referendum.

“The commission will continue to work until July this year when (there is) a declaration of a new state. That will be the time that the life of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission will come to an end. Between now and July, the commission will be doing many other things, will be compiling reports, will be making evaluation of its work and will report to both the governments in southern Sudan and in Khartoum for that purpose.”