The South Pacific region of Bougainville voted overwhelmingly to become the world’s newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea, results showed Wednesday. The referendum is part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) between the government of PNG and the leaders of Bougainville in August 2001. Two Australian Federal Police officers were seconded to a New Zealand-led police operation to maintain security for the poll. Residents of Papua New Guinea’s province of Bougainville have been voting in a referendum to secede from Port Moresby. This is a key agenda item for the Joint Supervisory Body meeting on Friday in Port Moresby. We are reborn.”. "I have confidence that both PNG and Bougainville leaders will proceed with consultations from hereon with the same resolve for a peaceful outcome and decision guided by the people’s decision through the ballot and the results as announced today," Pentanu said. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The two-week referendum period began on November 23 and closed on December 7. Photos copyright Ben Bohane/Wakaphotos.com Though the independence option was expected … Voting in the Bougainville independence referendum is done: more than 98 per cent of valid ballots favored independence. The mine has remained shut since the conflict. The ABG President, Chief DR JOHN MOMIS was lost for words after the results were declared by the Chair of the Bougainville Referendum Commission this afternoon. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. After two weeks of voting, the results are finally in: More than 98% of Bougainvilleans have voted in favor of independence. He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. Bougainville News Webinar Alert : The use of mobile technologies in the 2019 Bougainville referendum presents both opportunities and challenges for the future of democracy in the Pacific, Bougainville News Alert : WEBINAR – Mobile telephones on for public messaging: Did the Bougainville referendum information hotline make a difference? In December, the results of an independence referendum made it clear: 98 percent of voters in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville chose … The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. In total, 181,067 ballots were cast. Voters had two options – more autonomy, or full independence. The results of Bougainville's independence referendum are set to be announced Wednesday -- with the troubled Pacific islands expected to resoundingly back the … The other option in the vote was greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea. ( Log Out /  The 2019 Bougainville referendum offered valuable lessons for future elections, Kerryn Baker and Thiago Oppermann write. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades People of the autonomous Papua New Guinea region voted in a non-binding referendum on possible independence late last year. Bougainville votes with more than 97 per cent in favour of independence from Papua New Guinea in an important post-conflict referendum. Bougainville’s President John Momis said the territory remained guided by principles of democracy and fair play. The islands attempted to declare independence during the formation of Papua New Guinea in 1975 – but they were ignored. Sir Puka Temu representing PNG government, said "on behalf of the PNG Prime Minister James Marape I wish to acknowledge this historic day in PNG. The results of Bougainville’s independence referendum are set to be announced Wednesday — with the troubled Pacific islands expected to … At Wednesday's event held to announce the referendum results, Puka Temu, the national government's minister for Bougainville affairs, said the government is committed to the spirit of the peace agreement, but pleaded for patience from the people of Bougainville… Bougainville Referendum Commission Chairman Bertie Ahern was cheered when he announced that more than 98% of valid ballots favored independence. Out of 181, 067 total ballots counted, 176,928 voted for independence, while 3,043 voted in … Bougainville News Feature : If we have all learnt anything from Panguna, it is this. The Bougainville referendum was also witnessed as a celebratory event – defying fears of renewed hostilities. Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu presented his ministerial statement in Parliament when it convened last Tuesday. “Now, at least psychologically, we feel liberated,” said John Momis, president of the regional autonomous government. The referendum was approved by the Papua New Guinea government, but the result is non-binding. But according to research by Australia’s Lowy Institute, Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away. A non-binding independence referendum was held in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, between 23 November and 7 December 2019. ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to be the best country. Before now, Bougainville is an Island in Papua New Guinea, but citizens of the Island have carried out a referendum which showed a landmark step towards breaking out to form their own country. Last week the election results in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville were announced. Change ). 3,043 voted for greater autonomy He said nearly 98 percent for Independence is a huge testimony of what the people of Bougainville want for their future. The end of the fighting led to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the creation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and the promise of a non-binding referendum on independence. Independence option wins in Bougainville referendum Three weeks ago we reported on Bougainville's independence referendum - a non-binding vote on whether to split from Papua New Guinea and become a separate country. The mine was a huge export earner for Papua New Guinea but many in Bougainville felt they received no benefit and resented the pollution and disruption of their traditional way of living. Other observers from the Pacific Islands Forum, the Commonwealth Secretariat and some Pacific nations gave unofficial indications they thought the referendum was conducted peacefully and in a largely free and fair manner. This was the first election to be held after … We are reborn.”. Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Ben Bohane has reported the Bougainville referendum as part of a collaboration between the Walkley Foundation, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. “There’s tears, tears of joy, raw emotion – people have waited a long time, The pen is always mightier than the sword.”. The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. The referendum is non-binding and the vote for independence will now need to be negotiated between leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. The Speaker of Bougainville’s Parliament, Simon Pentanu, a highly respected local leader said the region's leadership had come under ridicule and criticism but were "the ones that make the hard decisions. The people of Bougainville have chosen overwhelmingly to become the world's newest nation in a historic referendum to break away from Papua New Guinea. The Pacific island chain of Bougainville has begun voting in a long-awaited referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG).. More than 1,000 people waited on Saturday morning to … Nevertheless, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence. The people of Bougainville have chosen overwhelmingly to become the world's newest nation in a historic referendum to break away from Papua New Guinea. The process of becoming a separate nation could take years to achieve. Bougainville News Alert : President Toroama reports on 100-days progress : Bougainville News : Reflections of memory and reality , there is rhyme, reason and ritual to hunting, gathering and fishing. That agreement calls for “consultation” and a negotiated outcome reached between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the PNG government once the referendum result is known. The islands have a population of around 300,000, and 206,731 people enrolled to vote in the referendum. Results announced on Wednesday, had the case for independence backed by 97.7 per cent of the 206,000 registered voters. The Bougainville Peace Agreement granted the region more autonomy, and those who opposed secession hoped the pact’s lengthy timeline — allowing for a nonbinding referendum … Bougainville votes overwhelmingly for independence from PNG. Pajomile Minaka, from Bougainville’s southern region the 36-year old, who was a child during the conflict , told Reuters he was taking a law course to … The violence began in the late 1980s, triggered by conflict over an enormous open-cast copper mine at Panguna. The Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) formally wound up operations in accordance with its Charter on 31 May 2020. The President Momis mentioned the people of Bougainville that despite so many problems they have faced in the past kept their faith for the future of Bougainville as clearly demonstrated by their vote. He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. The results were announced in the town of Buka by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission. Discussions will take place with the Papua New Guinea government to decide when – or if – the transition to full independence can begin. The two-week referendum period began on November 23 and closed on December 7. ( Log Out /  The referendum for Papua New Guinea’s eastern region is now set for October. The country is rich in natural resources – especially copper, which has been extracted on a large scale since the 1960s under Australian administration. One estimate cited by the Lowy Institute says Bougainville would only have 56% of the revenue needed to be self-reliant. Young men in their Upe initiation hats, the symbol of Bougainville, line up to vote in the independence referendum in Teuapaii village. One Bougainvillian, nursing graduate Alexia Baria, told news agency AFP that “happiness was an understatement”. Although the PNG government was against independence, and does not have to accept the result, the huge mandate will make it hard to ignore. “You see my tears – this is the moment we have been waiting for,” she said. A 40-day petition period passed without any complaint lodged, and international observer groups declared the referendum credible, transparent, and inclusive. The Bougainville Referendum is a key part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed in 2001. FILE PHOTO: Residents hold a Bougainville flag at a polling station during a non-binding independence referendum in Arawa, on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville November 26, 2019. The results are astonishing: 98.3 percent voted for independence (1.7 percent voted for more autonomy). Young men in their Upe initiation hats, the symbol of Bougainville, line up to vote in the independence referendum in Teuapaii village.Credit:Ben Bohane. Under the terms of the agreement, the referendum is nonbinding and will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken place. Of those: 176,928 voted for independence The PNG minister for Bougainville affairs, Puka Temu, said “the outcome is a credible one” – but asked that voters “allow the rest of Papua New Guinea sufficient time to absorb this result”. Members of the Bougainville Women's Federation celebrate the referendum result on Wednesday.Credit:@UNinPNG. Bougainville Referendum Results : ‘We are reborn’: Bougainville votes 97.7 % for independence from Papua New Guinea ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to … Voters had two options - more autonomy, or full independence. 1,096 were classed as informal, or void. SYDNEY (Reuters) - The South Pacific islands of Bougainville have overwhelmingly voted to be independent from Papua New Guinea, the referendum commission said on Wednesday, in … In late 2019, Bougainville held a non-binding referendum on its future political status, with voters asked to choose between greater autonomy within Papua New Guinea (PNG) or independence. He also thanked the Donor partners, International organizations that observed the polling and the count the UN team, High Commissioners of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many who were part of the peace process on Bougainville. In his address to the people who were present at the Hutjena Counting Centre, President Momis thanked the people for giving his ABG the clear mandate to consult with the National Government on the wishes of the people. With 87.4 percent* turnout, voting in the Bougainville referendum – conducted from November 23 through December 7 – concluded with the announcement of results on December 11. How its outcome will be handled remains unclear. Bougainvilleans have voted overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea following the announcement of results this afternoon by the Bougainville Referendum Commission. Skip to main content ABC News Homepage This site remains as an archive of all BRC public information regarding the conduct of the Bougainville referendum. Some believe it could provide a revenue source for Bougainville should it become independent. The BPA culminated a peace process that began in 1998 after nine years (1988–1997) of civil war between the PNG Defence Force, its local militia allies and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA). Ballot boxes are returned by boat to Buka, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.Credit:BRC/AP. The new country – should it happen – would be small, with a land mass of less than 10,000 sq km (slightly larger than Cyprus, and slightly smaller than Lebanon). It involved nearly 1500 polling officials across 829 locations in PNG, the Solomon Islands and Australia. Members of the Bougainville Women's Federation celebrate the referendum result on Wednesday. Will this place become the world’s next country? Results were announced at the central counting centre at Hutjena on Buka island, by Bertie Ahern, former Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) who was appointed Chairman of Bougainville’s Referendum Commission (BRC) which has overseen the referendum process. BY GORETHY KENNETH Parliament was officially furnished the December 2019 Bougainville Referendum vote results of 98 per cent voting for Independence. ( Log Out /  The referendum was 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. The referendum is nonbinding, and independence will need to be negotiated between leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. It is the hard decisions, and the pains and rewards that has got us thus far". But mining has been crippled by the war – and the distribution of revenue was one of the factors behind the conflict. A majority of voters selected independence, at 97.7 percent of the vote, with less … The President Momis mentioned the people of Bougainville that despite so many problems they have faced in the past kept their faith for the future of Bougainville as clearly demonstrated by their vote. The 98% result is above pre-referendum predictions – most experts expected the figure to be around 75% – 80%. Eleven Australian MPs and observers took part as election monitors during the referendum period, led by Jane Prentice. Likewise, its population would be one of the world’s smallest – slightly smaller than Pacific neighbour Vanuatu, and slightly bigger than Barbados. President MOMIS also thanked the National Government for their commitment to complete the process and the end result must be a total and lasting peace for the people of Bougainville. It is hosted by the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea as a record of an historic national event. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Of the 181,000 ballots, almost 98% were in favour of independence. He also thanked the Donor partners, International organizations that observed the polling and the count the UN team, High Commissioners of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many who were part of the peace process on Bougainville. "My thoughts today are with the President and all members of our Bougainville Parliament who have been steadfast in their resolve that no one drops the baton on the home stretch after the voting and counting and the announcement of the results today. He said nearly 98 percent for Independence is a huge testimony of what the people of Bougainville want for their future. Results announced on Wednesday, had the case for independence backed by 97.7 per cent of the 206,000 registered voters. Experts believed Bougainville would vote overwhelmingly in favour of independence ahead of the other option which was greater autonomy. Ballot boxes are returned by boat to Buka, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Although it is difficult to imagine PNG ignoring an overwhelming vote for independence, the outcome must be ratified by 111 MPs in PNG’s Parliament and that is not certain in a country famously known as “the land of the unexpected”. The only other option in … The official referendum result shows an overwhelming 98 per cent of voters have opted to leave PNG and become a sovereign nation. "The biggest task begins today," he said. The first ballot box to be used in Bougainville's independence referendum is unlocked in Buka at the start of polling, 23 November 2019. The referendum was non-binding – meaning independence won’t happen automatically. Even in colonial times, Bougainville was an outpost. Bougainville had a nine-year separatist war that began in 1988, fuelled by economic grievance. ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to be the best country. 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