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SPLM disowns two third voters turnout for Southern Sudan referendum.

By Ngor Arol Garang October 26, 2009 (KHARTOUM) -- The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), after a series of meetings, disowned two third voters turnout required for South succession from North saying simple majority of participants at the referendum should determine the fate of southern Sudan.

Pagan Amum (Getty)

The two peace partners, SPLM and NCP, struck a deal last week on the referendum bill accordingly the people of Southern Sudan would be allowed to establish an independent country by a simple majority vote of 50+1 percentage as long as 66% (2/3) of all eligible registered voters turn out. The two parties agreed to discuss the deal with their respective leaderships and to endorse before to refer it to the National Assembly in Khartoum for adoption. SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum Okeich, at a press conference yesterday at the premises of his party in Arkaweit suburb in Khartoum yesterday, denied any agreement with the NCP on the referendum bill. He further said that the vice-president of southern Sudan government Dr. Riek Machar would be soon in Khartoum to inform formally the NCP about the SPLM's position on the bill. Speaking to Sudan Tribune today, Pagan Amum, said his party in its last political bureau meeting in Juba, at Home and Away Hotel, brushed aside the deal and hence directed its members in the joint political executive committee to resume discussions with the delegation of the National Congress Party. The deal was received by mitigated reactions among the southern Sudanese circles, and many rejected it because of the 66% voters turnout. Pagan, who is hostile to the quorum of 66% turnout, in a press conference held at the SPLM premises said the referendum is a right for southerners and not an obligation. Many southerners think it would be difficult to guarantee the required percentage of participation in southern Sudan, due to the lack of the infrastructures as well as the weak means to mobilize southerners and raise the awareness. Asked what he thinks as alternatives to resolving this long contentious issue, he said, "Alternatives are resumption of the negotiations to arrive at acceptable compromise and not concession." "We might have in the past conceded other issues but not on referendum as this accommodates hopes of the southern people; he said adding that SPLM position is clear and simple," he stressed. "What we want, and remained our initial position at the SPLM leadership, is simple majority with simple turnout at polling stations and not two third votes to validate southern succession," he said. The Secretary General, who is currently included in the SPLM delegation to the joint political executive committee to negotiate with the dominant NCP in the upcoming schedules, has reiterated that what will determine the outcome of the referendum shall be based on the turnout majority at the polling day. This comes following last week announcement made by GOSS Vice President Dr. Riek Machar that a compromise of 2/3 voters turn out to guarantee succession for South Sudan, has been reached with the National Congress Party. However, he was quick to say the agreement he announced was still to be reviewed and endorsed by Southern council of ministers which out rightly rejected the agreement on Friday 16 October 2009. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Oct 27, 2009
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