This study attempts to analyse the major challenges encountered in the organisation of the Southern Sudan Referendum on Self-Determination and how these challenges were addressed, enabling the referendum to take place in a peaceful environment, with a high degree of transparency and fairness. In doing so it aims to identify a few lessons which, though emerging from the particular experience of the Sudan, can be used as a general paradigm in future similar contexts. The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission had less than four months to prepare, organise and conduct the operations within a broad mandate conferred by the Southern Sudan Referendum Act, many sections of which lacked clarity. The interpretation and application of this law represented, in several instances, a serious challenge to the organisation of the referendum, adding complexity to a process already made difficult by time and operational constraints amplified by the size of the territory and the highly sensitive political environment characterised by mistrust among the partners in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The study begins with a brief introduction to the political and legal background of the referendum and of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, including its role and structure. It proceeds with an analysis of the legal and regulatory framework, aimed at identifying the main challenges to the process and the solutions found in order to allow the referendum to take place in a timely, peaceful and orderly manner.
File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections