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It's official: South Sudan set to secede with a 99.57 percent vote

South Sudan's long-awaited independence referendum produced an overwhelming turnout of 99 percent among voters in the south, one of the poorest and least developed regions on earth.

A Southern Sudanese man dons a hat and flag of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement during the announcement of preliminary referendum results in Juba, southern Sudan on Sunday. Referendum officials indicated that over 99 percent of all voters cast ballots in favor of southern independence.

Pete Muller/AP

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Cheers and spontaneous dancing broke out as the first official announcement of results from South Sudan’s independence vote was made in the oil-rich region’s capital by members of commission that organized the referendum held earlier this month.

"The vote for separation was 99.57 percent," said Justice Chan Reec Madut, head of the southern bureau of the Referendum Commission, after reading the vote tallies for “unity” and “secession” for each of the south’s 10 states. Mr. Madut was referring to the results for the south, while Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, the head of the Commission, announced the results from polling in northern Sudan and in eight countries that held voting for South Sudan’s far-flung diaspora population.

Six of the ten southern states registered a 99.9 percent vote for separation, with the lowest vote in favor of secession came in at 95.5 percent in Western Bahr al-Ghazal state, which borders Darfur. The long-awaited referendum produced an overwhelming turnout of 99 percent among voters in the south, one of the poorest and least developed regions on earth.

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