SUDAN WATCH: SPLM satisfied with referendum negotiations

Monday, December 14, 2009

SPLM satisfied with referendum negotiations

GOSS President Salva Kiir returned to Juba on Monday after a breakthrough in discussions with the NCP over legislation concerning referendums to decide the future of southern Sudan and Abyei.

Once the Southern Sudan Referendum law is passed, the Referendum Commission will be set up and the registration process for the referendum will begin. Another commission will also be set up for the Abyei area to determine the criteria for voting for non-Dinka Ngok living in Abyei.

Note that the registration required to vote in the elections scheduled for 2010 is separate and different from the registration process required for the referendum votes and the popular consultation exercise.

From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, 14 December 2009:
SPLM Satisfied With Referendum Negotiations Despite Accepting NCP Demands
(Khartoum) – GOSS President Salva Kiir returned to Juba on Monday after a breakthrough in discussions with the NCP over legislation concerning referendums to decide the future of southern Sudan and Abyei. Progress was also made in negotiations concerning the popular consultation process for the people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The GOSS Minister of Presidential affairs, Dr. Luka Biong, who accompanied Kiir, told journalists that the parties have agreed on a voter participation rate of 60% to enable southerners to be able to vote for secession in the 2011 referendum:

[Dr. Luka Biong]: “I think for the people of southern Sudan it is good news despite the fact that the SPLM was pushing for the turnout percentage to be 55% of the total electorate, with a simple majority of 50 plus one but the SPLM felt that it was necessary to move ahead and to accept the NCP demand for a higher turnout of 60% per cent of the electorate. We think this is achievable because the registration of people in southern Sudan has shown clearly that the turnout could even be more than 60%.”

Dr. Biong added that once the Southern Sudan Referendum law is passed, the Referendum Commission will be set up and the registration process for the referendum will begin.

The Minister noted that another commission will also be set up for the Abyei area to determine the criteria for voting for non-Dinka Ngok living in Abyei.

It is important to remember that the registration required to vote in the elections scheduled for 2010 is separate and different from the registration process required for the referendum votes and the popular consultation exercise.

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