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Turnout In Southern Sudan Referendum Passes 60 Percent Threshhold

Anne Itto of the Peoples’ Liberation Movement

Anne Itto of the Peoples’ Liberation Movement

A senior official in southern Sudan says that the 60 percent threshhold required for a referendum on independence from the north to be valid has already been reached after three days of voting.

Anne Itto from southern Sudan's ruling People's Liberation Movement told reporters in the south's capital of Juba that nearly 2.3 million voters -- or more than 60 percent -- had cast ballots.

The commission organizing the vote could not immediately confirm the claim.

A week of voting began on January 9 in the referendum, which is expected to see the south emerge as an independent state.

The referendum was promised in a 2005 peace agreement that ended a civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the south, where most follow Christianity and traditional beliefs.

compiled from agency reports