(Photo courtesy of Abara registration center)
The 3 week period of voter registration for the referendum on whether to divide Sudan into two countries, closes next week. Completion of the registration is critical for conducting the referendum in a timely fashion, which is very important for maintaining peace. Most voters will be voting for only the second time in their life. The first election in a generation was held in April of this year (see article).
The referendum, which will be several days of voting beginning on January 9, allows southern Sudanese to decide whether they remain a part of a united Sudan, or whether South Sudan divides to become it’s own country. As part of the Comprehensive Peace agreement, a regionally autonomous government, the Government of South Sudan, was created in 2005. It has it’s own elected President, and Legislative Assembly, as well as all it’s own ministries. In order for South Sudan to gain independence in the referendum, 60% of registered voters must turn up for the polling, and 50% plus one, must vote for separation. Most polls show that a vast majority of southerners favor separation.
There were many logistical problems in the April elections, which may be repeated or intensified because of the late conclusion of registration. There are also outstanding issues between the northern and southern governments, like border demarcation, self determination for the transitional areas north of the border, and ownership of the oil rich Abyei area.
The Episcopal Church of Sudan encourages all of it’s friends and partners around the world, to join with us in praying for a peaceful resolution to the referendum.
Links for More:
Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, and Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lokudu Register to vote together