Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2010

Sudanese Perspectives on the 2010 Referendum

Richard Downie, Brian Kennedy

November 2010

Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding


The people of Southern Sudan are a little more than one month away from casting their votes in a referendum on whether to remain part of Sudan or become an independent state. The referendum is the most significant milestone in a six-year interim period that began with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The CPA was the outcome of a U.S.-backed process that successfully brought an end to almost 40 years of civil war between the North and South. Two votes are scheduled to take place on January 9, 2011. In the first, Southern Sudanese will vote on whether they wish to secede from the North and form an independent country in the South. At the same time, voters in the border enclave of Abyei will decide whether to remain in the North or join the South. CSIS Africa Program staff, Richard Downie and Brian Kennedy, traveled to Khartoum and the southern capital, Juba, in October to gauge views about the forthcoming referenda and assess how preparations are proceeding ahead of the polls.