JUBA, Sudan — Southern Sudanese election officials posted early results on Sunday indicating that perhaps more than 95 percent of voters in this regional capital voted to secede from Sudan.
The referendum, held last week, was the capstone of decades of civil war in Sudan, which pitted Christian and animist rebels in the south against Arab rulers in northern Sudan. All indications show the week-long referendum passing and the south forming its own country.
Over the course of the day on Sunday, results from other parts of Sudan, as well as from across the globe, were streaming in, all showing secession to be the overwhelming favorite. According to early results, southern Sudanese living in Europe who voted favored secession by about 97 percent, the BBC reported.
Vote tallying in Sudan started after polls closed at 6 p.m. Saturday, and carried on through the night, with officials often counting by lantern or flashlight.
While the results are the first concrete steps for the south to secede from the rest of Sudan and become its own country, the process will take time. The final vote tally is not scheduled to be announced until Feb. 14.
And true independence would not come before July 9, when an American-backed peace agreement between the north and the south expires. It was that agreement, signed in 2005, that set the referendum in motion.
Still, there are many issues to be ironed out, including citizenship rights, oil sharing and the future of the contested and volatile Abyei region, which was supposed to hold its own referendum on whether to join the south or the north, but never did.
In two other regions that are part of the north, consultations are supposed to determine whether or not to join the south.
But on Sunday, independence already seemed palpable.
Excerpt, read article: In Sudan, Early Results Strongly Lean to Secession -By Josh Kron | NYT