The preliminary results can be challenged during the appeal period which expires in early Feb. The announcement comes as no surprise since pre-referendum surveys reported that the majority of the 3.9 million people registered to vote were in favor of secession.
Some of the issues to be resolved post-referendum are borders, Abyei (a disputed area located between both territories), citizenship, oil, water, national debt and international agreements. The South has insisted on abrogating the application of Islamic Sharia'a law in the country but has faced stiff resistance by the ruling National Congress Party in the North.
Dozens of protestors were arrested in the capital after Sudanese police clashed with students later on Sunday, the newspaper reported.
On Saturday, Sudanese youth had been actively using online media to garner support for their planned demonstration on Sunday hoping to replicate the events in Tunisia and Egypt. More than 12,000 people confirmed their attendance online.
People in north Sudan are starting to feel the sting of austerity measures instigated by the government to offset the economic impact of the secession of the oil-producing south Sudan. In mid-Jan, there were student protests in Sudan's central state of Al-Jazzirah and Khartoum University against hiked prices of food and petrol products.