Sudan extends vote registration deadline
Sudan's referendum commission announces plans to extend voter registration by one week as the country braces for the January 9 vote on whether southern Sudan will remain part of the country, Press TV reported.
The announcement raises concerns over the tight schedule for the national referendum.
"Southern Sudanese people now have until the 8th of December to register," commission member Achier Deng told reporters in the southern capital Juba.
"The time frame has been revised but it will not compromise the date of January 9 [election]," AFP quoted Deng as saying.
He added that the main reason for the decision in the face of an already tight schedule was concern over "technical" problems.
Southern leaders have warned that postponing the vote -- promised in the 2005 ceasefire agreement that ended one of Africa's longest running conflicts -- could trigger a fresh civil strife in the country.
The registrations in the south began on November 15 and were due to end on December 1.
Permanent residents of southern Sudan since the country's 1956 independence from Britain and those, including expatriates, connected to an established south Sudan tribe are eligible to cast their ballots on January 9.
Last month, a report by on-profit research organization Rift Valley Institute warned that the threat of a new civil war looms over Sudan as the country tensely approaches the historic vote.
Logistical problems and constants delays are undermining the credibility of the ballot and Sudan cannot afford a disputed vote, the reports said warning that, "A disputed result would hold serious risks in terms of a potential return to north-south military confrontation," the 65-page report adds.
However, southern Sudan's president Salva Kiir has pledged that Africa's largest country, which lost some two million people to civil strife, would not descent into war over the referendum despite mounting tension.
"There is no reverse to this peace agreement" and no going back to war, AFP quoted Kiir, as saying on October 13.