Provisional results for South Sudan’s referendum for independence has shown that the number of people who voted in some counties exceeded the number of voters registered.
This inconsistency could cast doubts on the entire electoral process and leave talk of independence susceptible to legal appeals and refutations if not properly addressed, some analysts have warned.
Documents from the referendum-organizing commission revealed by Reuters showed that in Bor County in Jonglei state, for example, 67,901 voters registered to vote, but the results website showed 68,621 people cast their vote. Also, in Pibor (also in Jonglei), 83,841 voters registered but 84,307 voted.
The discrepancy has been played down by the referendum commission, which said it would have no effect on the outcome of the landslide referendum.
“It is just in a few centers this may have happened (…) I don’t think this is very serious. Maybe some people registered but were missed in the count at the close of registration and the report was sent too early. It is just a logistical error if it is an error,” deputy chairman of the referendum commission, Chan Reec Madut, told reporters.
However, some analysts believe that if the so-called logistical errors are not resolved, they could cast some serious doubts on the process and leave it susceptible to legal appeals.
Northern Sudan, which had wanted unity, has said it would recognize the referendum result but has also complained of fraud and irregularities during the registration process.
The referendum commission’s official websites (www.ssrc.sd and http://southernsudan2011.com) showed that 98.91 percent of voters preferred secession, confirming earlier predictions.
The voting process, which lasted one week, was part of a 2005 north-south peace deal that ended decades of civil war.
International observers had said the process was credible.