Sudan: South Sudan’s referendum vote hits expected 60%

By Nangayi Guyson – South Sudan vote has hit  60% turnout needed in the first three days of the week-long vote which began on Sunday to pass the referendum on secession from the north, the south’s ruling party and ex-rebel group says.

Sudan Referendum Vote“The 60% threshold has been achieved basing on polling center reports, but we are asking for a 100% (turnout),” the SPLM’s Anne Itto said not not giving  exact figures.

Ms Itto said people have stopped asking each other “how are you?” as a greeting and instead are asking “have you voted?”, AP news agency reports.

The poll was agreed as part of the 2005 deal to end the two-decade civil war.

The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement have been running the region since the peace agreement.

Official turnout figures, along with the preliminary result not expected until the beginning of February, are the responsibility of the South Sudan Referendum Commission.

Almost four million people have registered to vote.

The vote, in which only southerners are taking part, is widely expected to approve secession.

Meanwhile the US state department has indicated it could remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism if the north recognizes the outcome of the poll.

“It is a process that takes some time, but by beginning the process in the wake of the referendum, the hope is if they meet all the conditions, it can be done by July,” US diplomat Princeton Lyman told AFP news agency.

Southern Sudan would become Africa’s 54th nation on 9 July 2011 if the referendum is passed.

North and south Sudan have suffered decades of conflicts driven by religious and ethnic divides, with an estimated 1.5 million people killed in the civil war.