South Sudan moved a step closer to independence on Wednesday after organizers of its secession referendum said the vote’s turnout would pass the 60 percent threshold it needed to be binding.

The announcement came as northern and southern leaders called two crisis meetings to resolve a surge of violence in border regions that has marred the plebiscite, in which southerners are widely expected to choose independence.

“The final percentage (of participation) for the referendum process will exceed 60 percent,” commission member Suad Ibrahim Eissa said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, the fourth day of voting in the week- long poll, a senior southern official told journalists the turnout had already passed 60 percent.

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