Saturday, January 15, 2011

President Jimmy Carter weighs in on the Sudan vote

Former President Jimmy Carter has been in Southern Sudan observing the vote for independence. Carter is there as a part of his work with the Carter Center in ensuring the democratic process succeeds in the rest of the world.

President Carter says that nearly ninety percent of all Southern Sudanese have voted. He also says that only a tiny fraction have voted against succession from the north.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Jeremy Clarke recieved the statements from President Carter.

"We already know that in the south there's been about an average of 90 percent (participation) from the stations we've observed and I think they are representative," Carter said.

He said that in the few centres where he had seen counting under way, the votes "were practically unanimous in favour of separation with only a few ballots to the contrary."

"It's highly likely that the referendum result will be in favour of separation," he said, but added that no one should prejudge the results.

At least 60 percent of registered voters needed to take part for the result to be binding. That point was reached just four days into the vote, the organising commission said.

Carter played down threats of popular protests in the north following the vote.

"My hope is that the opposition parties in the north will be brought into consultations with President (Omar Hassan al-) Bashir's party and that they will prepare for modifications for the constitution."

Students clashed with police in Khartoum and two northern towns on Wednesday and Thursday in protests over rising prices, part of an economic crisis that has been exacerbated by fears of the impact of losing the south.

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