Turnout in Southern Sudan vote passes 60 percent

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 12, 2011 11:53

JUBA, Sudan — More than 60 percent of registered voters already have cast ballots in an independence referendum, crossing the threshold needed for the vote to be valid if it creates the new country of Southern Sudan as expected, a southern official said Wednesday.

The south's secession would split Africa's largest country in two and deprive the north of most of its oil fields, though Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said he will let the south go peacefully.

Ann Itto, an official with Southern Sudan's ruling Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement, told journalists on Wednesday that nearly 2.3 million voters had cast ballots so far, surpassing the 60 percent of registered votes needed to ensure the outcome's validity.


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