Voter registration of South Sudan referendum hoped to begin mid-October

September 19, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The registration of voters for the referendum on south Sudan’s self-determination is anticipated to begin in mid-October, says head of Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) which is tasked with organizing the exercise.

Voter registration of South Sudan referendum hoped to begin mid-October
Southern Sudanese pro-independence activists march through the southern capital of Juba, Sept 9, 201

SSRC’s chairman Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil told Reuters Sunday that the commission hopes to begin the process of voter registration in mid-October. Furthermore, Khaili said that the commission could meet the 9th January deadline if it is allowed to operate without hindrance.

"If there are no delays, no obstructions, no hair-splitting, if the commission works smoothly, if we don’t get interventions from different parties, if people let us alone, it is just feasible that we will meet the 9th January deadline," he said.

Khalil said that the commission would spend the next few weeks in getting registration forms printed and recruiting 10,500 field workers to carry out the count and finalizing the commission’s budget.

The plebiscite on south Sudan’s independence is the terminus of a peace deal which in 2005 ended decades of civil war between the Arab-dominated government in the north and the African tribal south.

Many analysts believe that southerners, who suffered several forms of persecution by successive governments in the north, will certainly vote in favor of their independent state.

On September 15, the commission held its first meeting in Khartoum after months of delay due to bickering between north and south Sudan leaders over the composition of the commission. The meeting agreed on the format of voter-registration forms and to print them abroad under UN supervision.

In a related vein, the SSRC’s secretary-general, Mohamed Osman al-Nijoumi, said today that the referendum has been estimated to cost 180 million US dollars.

Al-Nijoumi on Sunday told the daily newspaper Al-Akhbar that the commission had finalized a budget proposal of 180 million US dollars to cover the expenses of implementing the referendum. He said that the proposal would be submitted to the presidency of the republic for final approval.

(ST)

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