SUDAN WATCH: NCP & SPLM agree to adopt requirement of 51% simple majority votes to declare S. Sudan an independent country or confirm unity in Jan 2011 referendum

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NCP & SPLM agree to adopt requirement of 51% simple majority votes to declare S. Sudan an independent country or confirm unity in Jan 2011 referendum

The National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed on Thursday after 10 months of heated negotiations to adopt a uniform requirement of 51% simple majority votes to declare Southern Sudan an independent country or confirm unity in the upcoming January 2011 referendum.

Government of Southern Sudan's VP Riek Machar told the press at Juba Airport upon his arrival from Khartoum on Friday that the NCP had also dropped its proposal of 90% to 2/3 (66%) of quorum required from all the registered voters in order to recognize the outcome of the referendum.

SPLM Deputy Chairman said that his delegation agreed southerners based in northern Sudan and abroad would be allowed to vote during the referendum.

Dr. Machar also said the NCP had proposed that all Southerners that reside in the north should automatically lose their citizenship in northern Sudan and be treated as foreigners if the referendum vote results to independence of the South.  The same fate would also apply to northerners that reside in the South.

He added the SPLM has refused to discuss in the referendum law the fate of southerners or northerners, saying the issue would also be discussed together with the other issues in the post-referendum dialogue.

Source:  Sudan Tribune - Peace partners reach breakthrough on South Sudan referendum - Saturday 17 October 2009 by James Gatdet Dak
October 16, 2009 (JUBA) — The partners in the 2005 peace deal between northern and southern Sudan have reached a breakthrough on the main outstanding issues in the draft law for the conduct of referendum in Southern Sudan.

The National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed on Thursday after 10 months of heated negotiations to adopt a uniform requirement of 51% simple majority votes to declare Southern Sudan an independent country or confirm unity in the upcoming January 2011 referendum.

The co-chairs of the Joint Political Executive Committee of the two parties, Vice President of Sudan, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and Government of Southern Sudan’s Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, are consulting with their respective leaderships before they could initial the agreement.

Dr. Machar told the press at Juba Airport upon his arrival from Khartoum on Friday that the NCP had also dropped its proposal of 90% to 2/3 (66%) of quorum required from all the registered voters in order to recognize the outcome of the referendum.

SPLM Deputy Chairman further said that his delegation agreed southerners based in northern Sudan and abroad would be allowed to vote during the referendum. The southern Sudan ruling party had rejected their participation in a first time.

Dr. Machar who chairs the component of the SPLM Political Executive Committee, charged with implementing the CPA, briefed the Government of Southern Sudan’s Council of Ministers on Friday about the agreement.

He said the bill also gives the referendum exercise a period of three days from the 9th to 11th January 2011.

He said they have also agreed that the exercise of the referendum can be repeated within sixty (60) days in case the first exercise fails to attain the 2/3 voters turnout.

In the agreement also included several other issues among which are the qualifications of voters and voting centers in addition to composition of the referendum commission.

There are also disputed post-referendum issues including discussions on what to do with the liabilities (debts), assets, waters, Joint Integrated Units (JIUs), oil (production, transport and export), currency and international agreements in case the South would vote for separation.

Dr. Machar also said the NCP had proposed that all Southerners that reside in the north should automatically lose their citizenship in northern Sudan and be treated as foreigners if the referendum vote results to independence of the South.

The same fate would also apply to northerners that reside in the South.

He added the SPLM has refused to discuss in the referendum law the fate of southerners or northerners, saying the issue would also be discussed together with the other issues in the post-referendum dialogue.

The SPLM’s position is that the referendum law should not be tied to the post-referendum issues, he said.

The two parties should not only discuss what would happen to the post-referendum issues if the South chooses independence, Machar explained, adding that they would also discuss how Sudan needs to look like incase the South would vote for unity.

Dr. Machar earlier explained that such a post-referendum united Sudan would need re-structuring of the Sudanese state itself, saying all these issues would be discussed outside the referendum bill.

A special committee of the Southern Sudan cabinet comprising of different political parties was formed to study the details of the draft bill on Saturday before it could be initialed by the two co-chairpersons, Dr. Machar and Ali Osman in their next week’s meeting on Monday.

The bill would then be presented to the national Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) before it goes to the national Council of Ministers and parliament for final endorsement by the current last session before the end of the year.

On the Abyei referendum, Machar added that the two parties have also presented their respective proposals on the composition of its commission.

He further added that the two parties are as well working on the bills for public consultations for Southern Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains.

The people of Southern Sudan shall vote in the 2011 referendum to choose between confirming the current unity of Sudan and creating an independent country.

The people of Abyei shall vote at the same time to either join the South or remain part of the North, while the people of Southern Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains shall have respective popular consultations to determine their future political and administrative status within the North.
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