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A vote for independence will give the south control of almost 80 percent of Sudan’s current oil production of 490,000 barrels a day, ...
"The referendum is being conducted with a big degree of fairness. The expected result is secession,” Rabie Abdel Ati, a senior member of Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Khartoum, the capital. “Accepting the results has become inevitable.”
Full results of the poll are not due until next month, but the region is widely expected to choose to secede.
Southern Sudanese people living in Europe have already voted 97% in favour of a new state.
The historic referendum was part of a peace agreement signed with north Sudan in 2005, ending decades of war.
Polling stations opened on 9 January and were officially closed on Saturday evening.
A minimum 60% turnout was required for the vote to be considered valid, a target which had easily been passed by the middle of the week.
The chairman of the Southern Sudanese Referendum Commission, Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, has said more than 80% of eligible voters in the south had cast their ballots, along with 53% in the north and 91% of voters living in the eight other countries hosting polling stations.