20 Jan 2011

Southern Sudan independence vote confirmed

7:00 am on 20 January 2011

People in southern Sudan have voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from the north.

Officials in the southern Sudanese capital, Juba, say preliminary results show that 97.5% voted for secession from the north. The outcome was expected.

The poll was held as part of a peace deal in 2005 that ended decades of civil war.

Southern leaders have urged people not to hold premature celebrations and to wait for the final figures.

To pass, there had to be a 60% turnout, plus a straightforward majority in favour. The final result is due to be announced on 6 February or 14 February if there are appeals.