20 January 2011 – Preliminary results issued by the Upper Nile State Referendum High Committee today showed that over 99 per cent of ballots cast favored the separation of Southern Sudan from the rest of the country.
Speaking at a press conference held in the high committee's offices in Malakal, the panel's chairperson, Bol Pout Yout, said that 344,718 voters supported separation. The 1,814 votes for the unity option represented less than one per cent of all the tabulated ballots.
Nearly 99 per cent of the state's 351,018 eligible voters went to the polls, said Mr. Yout, and no one voted for unity in four of the state's 13 counties.
He thanked the Upper Nile State government and civil society organizations for the support they gave to ensure a successful referendum process.
"Without the help of the government and religious and community leaders, the referendum could not have been conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner," he said.
State's Minister of Information and Communication Peter Lam Both thanked Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit for their commitment to the implementation of a peaceful referendum.
"On behalf of the government of Upper Nile State, I would like to congratulate the people of the state for recording a high percentage in the referendum," said Mr. Both, urging the public at large to wait patiently for the release of official referendum results in the south later this month.