The Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, said the roll used in Bougainville's independence referendum late last year was being used as the working roll for … Roughly 90% of people in Bougainville live in rural hamlets and villages. The referendum has been a long time coming. [10] The referendum was delayed again to 23 November at the request of the Bougainville Referendum Commission to ensure the credibility of the referendum roll so more people can vote. BBC. NBC News -Patrick Makis (Buka) Related … Though non-binding, the expectation of the people throughout the three regions has been set and they will not settle for anything less. The effort required to conduct a vote like this in Bougainville has been “tremendous”, says Mauricio Claudio, the chief referendum officer of the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC), which has been set up to administer the vote. “It’s obvious that the people are now in the mood for celebration and I join them as they have every right to celebrate.”. In the coastal town of Buka a solemn procession of people makes its way from the Catholic church to Bel Isi park, where worshippers kneel before a makeshift cross. promised to the people of Bougainville as part of a peace deal reached in 2001. Voters will be asked: Do you agree for Bougainville to have, (i) greater autonomy or (ii) independence? Seen a lot of injustice done, during the crisis … I am 65 years old and I’ve seen everything. Stay tune for more updates. The result will be declared in mid-December and is expected to be overwhelming in favour of independence. “I’m very happy that my dream to empower people in a way that is democratically appropriate has been achieved,” said Momis, emerging from the polling booth with arms raised. The final decision on Bougainville's status depends on the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea. This demonstrates their readiness to actively and freely take part in the … Arawa, one of the major townships in the region, was once the civic headquarters of Bougainville Copper Limited, which managed the Panguna mine, disputes about which sparked the crisis that led to the civil war. Starting this week, people living in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville on the Digicel network are receiving short SMS messages on their phone with awareness and updates about the referendum process — BRC Tok Save. The Bougainville referendum is a key milestone contained in a political settlement, the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which sought to reconcile a violent conflict from 1988-1997. Papua New Guinea will seek to ensure a likely majority vote for independence in its autonomous … Bougainville referendum: region votes overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea Jubilation at result but region faces long process … In a region where various groups are demanding a chance to express their aspirations for self-government, the approach of the people of Bougainville, their leaders and the … Although it is the last of the three phases of the enrolment stages, enrolment continues until August 16, when writs are issued. The date of the Bougainville Referendum is now set to take place on NOVEMBER 23, 2019. In reality, the result of the referendum is non-binding, and ultimately the PNG parliament has to vote on whether to allow Bougainville its independence, something that could take up to a … Scrutiny of ballots in Bougainville's historic independence vote is underway. Over 98% of valid ballots were cast in favor of independence. In the middle of Arawa town, a youth group from Rorovana stages a play for locals on what the voting process will be, even down to the detail of what a voting booth looks like. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. [17] Bougainvilleans living in other parts of Papua New Guinea, or in Australia and Solomon Islands, were also allowed to vote. Audio. Margaret Kila, from Malasang, spoke through tears about how significant it was for her to vote in this election. [12], The vote faced a high degree of difficulty to organise, with most of the population in small hamlets and villages, and about half the population being illiterate. Bernadine Perekai from Haku crossed the Buka Channel with her two sons to attend the mass. ”There were 829 polling stations; 800 in Bougainville and 29 outside Bougainville -Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon,” he said. "[28], Damien Cave of The New York Times reported that the referendum would serve as an inspiration for West Papua separatists in Indonesia and for voters in the 2020 New Caledonian referendum for independence from France. The referendum is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a civil war in which at least 15,000 people died in the cluster of islands to the east of the Papua New Guinea mainland. #AMBMcKee #Pacific", Elections and referendums in Bougainville, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2019_Bougainvillean_independence_referendum&oldid=993961163, 2019 in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, History of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Pages using bar box without float left or float right, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 December 2020, at 12:20. Bougainville has been through civil unrest in 1987 with PNG over the unfair profit sharing of the Panguna mine and later led to a peace process that begun in 1997 becoming an autonomy of PNG. Following the Joint Supervisory Body’s (JSB) decision last week, polling for the referendum will start on 12 th October 2019. The other option in the vote was greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea. [8], The vote was originally scheduled for 15 June 2019,[9] but was delayed to 17 October amid allegations that the national government was slow to provide most of the promised funding for the referendum. Counting for the Referendum is expected to start today after all ballot boxes and papers are verified. Bougainville wants more than JSB referendum overview Radio New Zealand 20:25 24-Nov-20. Panguna closed in 1989 due to the civil war and is now estimated to hold copper worth up to $60 billion. [25], Following the announcements of the result, John Momis, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, said, "at least psychologically, we feel liberated." [3] One key issue of conflict was the Panguna mine, which was closed in 1989. Cars beeped their horns in the streets, as crowds – singing, dancing, cheering and playing pan flutes – followed the region’s president John Momis, to the polling booth to watch him as he cast the first vote in the referendum. People voted overwhelmingly for independence (97.71 per cent) in what was widely regarded to be a successful process, with an informed and engaged citizenry. Bougainville Referendum: Peaceful polling in Bougainville. [27], Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, stated that the referendum's results were disadvantageous for Papua New Guinea, adding that, "[i]f there were to be a smaller majority, say 55 or 65 percent, the PNG government could have found a way to justify really stretching this out and having a period of negotiation that could last years or decades. Thank you God,” she said. We stand ready to support all of our partners with the next phase of this process. Besides those at the ceremony, the town is almost deserted. It is going to have a referendum, which the people of Bougainville, living in and outside the region will take a vote whether to remain with Papua New Guinea (PNG) or break away and get independence. : Bougainville referendum Commission ( BRC ) formally wound up operations in with! 97 per cent in favour of independence from Papua New Guinea voted in favor of independence film referendum... 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