Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Socks and selfies deep': Canadians slam Rolling Stone's Justin Trudeau-tribute

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Panda-monium! French zoo awaiting rare panda birth

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Facebook keep growing its earnings?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Qatar 'financing and supporting terrorism', Egypt FM says

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French Riviera's raging fires

Read more

THE DEBATE

Poland Judicial Reforms: EU keeping door open to sanctions on Warsaw

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Libyan PM: 'We need UN's support to hold vote'

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Dubai: Taking a dip into the Emirates' underwater world

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Valerian', 'A Violent Life' and 'Belle de Jour'

Read more

Africa

Parliament sets out conditions for southern independence vote

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-22

Sudan's parliament passed a law Tuesday laying the groundwork for a January referendum on full independence for the semi-autonomous South. But lawmakers from the South walked out in protest at a clause that grants diaspora southerners a vote.

REUTERS - Sudan's parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited bill setting out the conditions in which a January 2011 referendum on independence for the country's oil-producing south would be considered to be valid.

According to the bill, 60 percent of the southern Sudanese electorate will have to turn out to make the referendum legitimate. South Sudan will split away from the north if more than half of voters choose independence.

But of the south's dominant Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) walked out before the vote, criticising one of the bill's articles that allowed South Sudanese living in the north to register and vote.

Analysts warn the south could return to war if there is any sign Khartoum will not go through with the vote and that would have a devastating impact on the country, its oil industry and stability in the region.

"Finally, after a long journey, we approved this law," said parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir who is a member of the National Congress Party (NCP) which dominates the north.

After months of wrangling, leaders from the SPLM and NCP agreed on the bill's terms in a series of late night meetings this month.

But distrust runs deep between north and south and many southern leaders, who would prefer the vote take place only in the south, criticised the legislation.

"What happened today was the biggest mistake that has happened since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement," senior SPLM official Yasir Arman said.

"How can the parliament approve the law for the referendum for South Sudan without the participation of representatives from South Sudan?" he added.

 

Secession vote

South Sudan secured the independence vote, due in January 2011, as part of a 2005 peace accord that ended two decades of civil war with the north that killed 2 million people.

Many southerners, embittered by years of bloodshed, are thought to favour independence. Leaders from the SPLM have been making increasingly separatist public comments in recent months.

Secession would mean Khartoum would lose control of most of the country's proven oil reserves, predominantly found in the south, though the landlocked south is dependent on northern pipelines to carry its oil to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

Sudan's north and south are split over differences in ideology, ethnicity and religion. North Sudan is mostly Muslim while southerners are largely Christian and followers of traditional beliefs.

Date created : 2009-12-22

  • SUDAN

    South Sudan leader urges 'yes' on independence vote

    Read more

COMMENT(S)