Final Report: Southern Sudan Referendum 9‐15 January 2011 (EN/AR)
ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. On the invitation of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and the Government of the Republic of The Sudan, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) was present in Sudan from 12th December 2010 to 30th January, 2011 in order to observe the 9th– 15th January Referendum on self‐determination for Southern Sudan, envisaged in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The mission was led by Ms. Véronique de Keyser, Member of the European Parliament, who also led the EU EOM that observed the April 2010 general elections in Sudan. The EU EOM for the Southern Sudan Referendum comprised 104 accredited observers at various stages of the process from the 27 EU member states, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Canada. They were joined on polling days by a delegation of six Members of the European Parliament, headed by Ms. Mariya Nedelcheva. The Mission operated in accordance with the EU Code of Conduct for Election Observers, the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.
2. The implementation of the Southern Sudan Referendum fulfilled a major requirement of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the 22‐yearsecond Sudanese civil war. That the Referendum took place on time and in a calm, peaceful and orderly environment, was a remarkable operational and political achievement, particularly given the delays in passing the Southern Sudan Referendum Act (the Act) and the establishment of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) and its secretariat, as well as the Juba‐based Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB).
3. The EOM concludes that the Referendum was a credible process that accurately reflects the overwhelming desire of Southern Sudanese voters for secession. This conclusion is reached in spite of four main shortcomings. Firstly, the non‐pluralistic political environment that resulted in the sometimes intimidatory tactics used by the ruling SPLM in encouraging registered voters to cast their ballot. Secondly, the approval of the results of just less than 10 per cent of Referendum Centres that showed voter turnout in excess of 100 per cent without investigation by SSRB. Thirdly, the bypassing of certain elements of the Referendum’s legal framework out of a pragmatic desire to meet the 9th January, 2011 deadline for the holding of the Referendum set by the Act and the CPA, and fourthly, a lack of a thorough appeals mechanism that would allow natural or legal persons the possibility to challenge elements of the Referendum administration bodies’ preparation of the Referendum.
4. The pre‐Referendum political environment was heavily influenced by the Government of National Unity (GNU) partners’ (the National Congress Party and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement) discussion of post‐ Referendum issues in the event of the secession of Southern Sudan, on which little substantive progress was made in advance of the Referendum. These issues included the final demarcation of the northsouth border, how responsibilities for Sudan’s foreign debt would be divided, which currency the new Southern Sudanese state would use, and how revenues for bringing Southern Sudanese oil to the market via the refineries, pipelines and port of the north of Sudan would be calculated and transferred. Another issue considered was the thorny issue of citizenship. Although the CPA parties made commitments with regards to the rights of both Sudanese from north and south to live, travel and work in either state in the event of Southern Sudanese voters choosing secession, the uncertainty felt by Southern Sudanese in the northern states, in particular, as to their post‐Referendum status, contributed to the continuing exodus of an estimated 150,000 Southern Sudanese from north to south in the months immediately preceding the Referendum.
5. The GNU partners also failed to agree terms on implementing the referendum for Abyei, due to be held simultaneously with the Southern Sudan Referendum, which would allow the people of Abyei to decide whether Abyei would remain with the northern Sudanese states, or join the independent Southern Sudanese state, in the event of Southern Sudanese secession. This did not meet commitments made in the CPA’s Abyei Protocol and the 2009 Abyei Area Referendum Act, and is partially responsible for subsequent violence and instability in the Abyei region.
6. Certain elements of the legal framework for the Referendum (in particular the stipulation in the Act that the Final Referendum Register be finalised three months prior to polling day) were not respected. The dominant pragmatic view was that the CPA had mandated that the Referendum must be held on 9th January, 2011, and thus other legal stipulations were rendered subservient. No legal anomalies in the deadline for the holding of the Referendum set by the Act and the CPA, and fourthly, a lack of a thorough appeals mechanism that would allow natural or legal persons the possibility to challenge elements of the Referendum administration bodies’ preparation of the Referendum.