Close to 99 percent of south Sudanese chose to secede from the north in a January 9-15 referendum, according to the first complete preliminary results published Sunday.
Updated figures published on the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission's website and accounting for 100 percent of ballots cast in both the north and the south gave secession an overwhelming 98.83 percent of the vote.
Early counting had put the outcome of the ballot beyond doubt only days after voting ended, with partial figures showing southern Sudan had comfortably secured a mandate to secede and become the world's newest nation.
According to the commission website, 3,851,994 votes were cast during an emotional week-long ballot that saw huge lines of dancing and praying voters form outside polling stations long before dawn on the first day of voting.
Five of the 10 states in Sudan's oil-producing south showed a 99.9 percent vote for separation and the lowest vote was 95.5 percent in favor in the western state of Bahr al-Ghazal which borders north Sudan.
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