Southern Sudan referendum starts as scheduled (4)

08:41, January 10, 2011      

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"There are many reasons behind this weak turnout, including the wave of cold which hit the capital today, and the fact that most of the southerners work at farms, factories and do other freelance works and therefore it is difficult for them to abandon their work to come to the polling centers," he said.

Hiraiz expected the turnout to increase by midday.

Barnaba Benjamin, the minister of Information and Spokesman of the southern Sudanese government expressed his confidence in an interview with Xinhua on Saturday that the southern Sudanese would vote for the independence of the region in the referendum.

"The southerners will opt for separation and establish an independent state," he said.

He held the successive governments in north Sudan since Sudan's independence in 1956 responsible for failure to boost the emotion for unity among the southern Sudanese citizens.

"Since 1956, the southern Sudanese suffered from war, death, hunger, thirst and lack of development," he said.

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