Sudan's elections commission to conduct Darfur status referendum in July

10:41, April 26, 2011      

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Sudan's National Elections Commission (NEC) on Monday said it completed its arrangements to conduct a referendum on the administrative status of Darfur region on July 1, 2011.

"The referendum tends to know the opinions of the citizens of the three Darfur states regarding the permanent administrative status of the region, whether it should remain on its current status, or one region of three states should be established", said NEC in a statement.

"The NEC will work to conduct the referendum on July 1, 2011, and the referendum will last for two days," added the statement.

A working team has been formed to update last year's voter register and sub committees have been formed for all the geographical constituencies in the region, said the commission.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir issued last month a republican decree on conducting a referendum to decide the administrative status of Darfur, where viewpoints differed as to the feasibility of the move in removing the barriers which crippled the Qatar-hosted Darfur peace talks between the Sudanese government and the Darfur armed movements.

The Darfur Peace Agreement, or Abuja Agreement, inked between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)/ Minnawi faction in 2005, stipulated that the Darfur permanent administrative status would be decided through a referendum to be conducted simultaneously in the three Darfur states.

The agreement stipulated that citizens of the region should choose between two options, whether the region should remain on its current status or one region of three states should be established.

The Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) have earlier rejected conducting the referendum and described it as "a violation of the framework agreement and undermining of the efforts of Qatar and the international community to resolve the Darfur issue."

Source: Xinhua
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