Sudan enters third day of polling

Man checks voter lists

Voters in Sudan are back at the polling stations on the third day of voting in the Sudanese referendum. They are deciding whether northern and southern Sudan should be split into two separate countries. The vote was mandated by the Sudanese peace agreement of 2005, which called for democratic governance country wide and an end to the civil war. UN mission spokesperson Kouider Zerrouk told UN Radio’s Gerry Adams that the polling centers continue to be violence-free:

Duration: 2’24″

Zerrouk: Well, today the mood is I would say the same as the first day. It’s calm, it’s quiet and it’s peaceful. There is no security incident in southern Sudan in all the polling centers and all over the places where the referendum is taking place – even in the north and outside the country. So it’s a positive and conducive environment and it’s going well and smooth.

Adams: I understand that we need 60 percent to make it valid. Is that right?

Zerrouk: That’s correct. Of course this vote has a very important and significant meaning because as you know it is a referendum and they may decide to choose independence and that’s why this vote has a very important significance for sourthern Sudanese. They need 60 percent and the decision whether it’s unity or separation, it will have to be 60 percent plus one vote.

Adams: What percentage of people have voted so far if you know?

Zerrouk: We don’t know because as you know, the mission is not mandated to observe, it’s not mandated to even talk about the percentage. SEGUE

Adams: What is the mission’s role in this referendum, then?

Zerrouk: The mission as far as the mandate of the Security Council [is concerned] has a very clear and specific role, which is providing logistical support and technical assistance to the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and also the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau. Here in Juba we have been training for instance more than 40 thousand police in the south and also in the north and also we have been transport facilities to transport all the registration material as well as the voting material.

Adams: Many people have worked long and hard for this election to take place in a non-violent atmosphere. Have you noticed or has there been any report of violence?

Zerrouk: No. Violence related to the referendum itself no. And as I said, it has been, since the first day extremely quite and calm and good.

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