Sudan Referendum Reaches Threshold

The referendum in Sudan is continuing but crossed a key threshold today. Organizers confirmed that the turnout percentage needed for the vote to be considered valid has been reached. Chan Reec, referendum commission deputy chairman, told Al Jazeera news: "At the end of the fourth day of polling, with 86 percent of referendum centers reporting, 2,360,922 people are confirmed to have voted in southern Sudan. This exceeds the 60 percent threshold figure of 2,359,553."

Jimmy Carter, an observer to the referendum along with a 70 member team from the Carter Center, said he expected the vote to meet all of the criteria to be valid. He said, "The likelihood is that the referendum result will be for independence although we won't know until probably the first week of February." The United Nations says preliminary results are expected by February 2, with final results to follow within about two weeks.


The process thus far has been mostly peaceful but there have been reports of violence in Abeyi with as many as 36 killed in clashes in that disputed province. A convoy of residents being taken to the vote was attacked on Monday and 10 were killed.

According to the UN: "If the South votes for independence, the two sides have until the end of June to resolve complex issues affecting the two, according to the 2005 peace agreement, which ended a civil war that killed some two million people and drove an estimated 4.5 million others from their homes. The issues include post-referendum citizenship, residency and labour matters, wealth-sharing, demarcating borders and the future of the oil-rich the Abyei region."

Abyei, which straddles northern and southern Sudan, was meant to hold a referendum on whether to join the North or South concurrent with the independence referendum but that vote has been postponed indefinitely. “A cause for alarm” and potential hotspot for renewed conflict, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. UN forces have intensified patrols in Abeyi in response to the unrest there as the referendum continues.

For more:

Caritas Internationalis

Sudan Vote Monitor

Enough Project

Catholic Relief Services

America reports on Sudan referendum

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

If you cannot laugh at the ignominy of whispering your wretched little sins through a screen, then when will you laugh?
Simcha FisherMarch 22, 2018
I recoil when I read autobiographical explanations of someone else’s work. But not in these cases.
John J. ConleyMarch 22, 2018
Personnel in hazmat suits work to secure a tent over the bench in Salisbury where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found critically ill by exposure to a nerve agent on March 4. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
The nerve-agent attack on two Russians in the cathedral city of Salisbury has Britons feeling as though they are back in the pages of a James Bond novel.
David StewartMarch 22, 2018
California, it is argued, cannot be permitted to enforce this law, which levies fines for noncompliance, against centers whose “sole mission is encouraging expectant mothers to give their children the opportunity for life.”
Ellen K. BoegelMarch 22, 2018