After Papua New Guinea became independent from Australia in 1975,[3] Bougainville was given provincial status in 1976. Papua New Guinea's Minister for Bougainville Affairs Puka Temu said, "the outcome is a credible one," but also stated that Papua New Guinea should have time to absorb the result. Last update: 10:40am, 12th December, 2019 Sydney, Australia Reuters . The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is deciding very soon whether it will secede from Papua New Guinea, achieve greater autonomy, or remain in the country. There is an issue with managing expectations, especially the belief that if the vote returns a strong result for independence, as expected, Bougainville will immediately become independent. The referendum was approved by the Papua New Guinea government, but the result is non-binding. Panguna closed in 1989 due to the civil war and is now estimated to hold copper worth up to $60 billion. But it has now lain dormant for 30 years as limited remnants of infrastructure, built by the mining company, stand forgotten and idle, with vegetation growing around it. [15] The final number of eligible voters was 206,731, out of a total population of nearly 300,000. The referendum has been a long time coming. [25], Following the announcements of the result, John Momis, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, said, "at least psychologically, we feel liberated." The referendum is scheduled for June 2019, but the PNG premier says the criteria to do so have not been met yet. We stand ready to support all of our partners with the next phase of this process. “I’ve suffered with my people. [16] Males undergoing the upe rite of passage were allowed to vote at special male-only polling stations. A majority vote for independence is widely expected. In order to spread information to people about the vote and the political process that will follow, not-for-profits have travelled through the islands conducting dialogues and putting on awareness-raising events. Now with such a phenomenal majority, it’s much harder for them to do that. NBC News -Patrick Makis (Buka) Related … The referendum is non-binding, and a vote for independence would then need to be negotiated by leaders from both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. ”There were 829 polling stations; 800 in Bougainville and 29 outside Bougainville -Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon,” he said. Besides those at the ceremony, the town is almost deserted. [23], On 24 January 2020 the result was declared "Petition Free", confirming that no appeals had been received within 40 days against the conduct or the result of the referendum and that none could be accepted in future. The referendum will give the people of Bougainville the opportunity to express their opinion on the future political status of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as guaranteed in the 2001 Peace Agreement. NEW DAWN FM NEWS THE President for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Ismael Toroama says even though the Bougainville Consultation team and the JSB did not meet, the JTT was able to make a number of resolutions. A handful of taxi boats float next to the closed market. Bougainville Referendum Commission chair Bertie Ahern said on Tuesday the vote was conducted "in an environment that was conducive to a free, fair and credible process". This site remains as an archive of all BRC public information regarding the conduct of the Bougainville referendum. Per the Peace Agreement, whatever the result of the referendum, the referendum process will be followed by bilateral negotiations between the two governments on the future political status of Bougainville. Currently, the independence referendum is scheduled for 15 June, 2019. Following the Joint Supervisory Body’s (JSB) decision last week, polling for the referendum will start on 12 th October 2019. [61] In Bougainville and elsewhere, the loss of ABC reporting and reach in the Pacific has opened up a void of reliable … Agenda one (1) concerns the 98% Vote - The Bougainville people have overwhelmingly set the goal post for independence at the recent Referendum. Overseas voting for the Bougainville Independence referendum is underway at polling stations on Gizo in Solomon Islands and Cairns in Australia. The President stressed on this important agenda of implementing the 98% Referendum … Bougainvillean filmmaker, Llane Munau said that when she spoke to many women in villages about the referendum they would respond “Em husait?” (Who is that?). 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