Voters had two options – more autonomy, or full independence. ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to be the best country. 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. Bougainville votes overwhelmingly for independence from PNG. The United Nations Resident Co-ordinator for PNG, Gianluca Rampolla said the UN was "fully committed to continue providing support to both governments in the post-referendum process". ( Log Out /  The referendum question was a choice between greater autonomy within Papua New Guinea and full independence; voters voted overwhelmingly (98.31%) for independence. Though the independence option was expected … Likewise, its population would be one of the world’s smallest – slightly smaller than Pacific neighbour Vanuatu, and slightly bigger than Barbados. 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 violence began in the late 1980s, triggered by conflict over an enormous open-cast copper mine at Panguna. Voting in the Bougainville independence referendum is done: more than 98 per cent of valid ballots favored independence. The 2019 Bougainville referendum offered valuable lessons for future elections, Kerryn Baker and Thiago Oppermann write. Two Australian Federal Police officers were seconded to a New Zealand-led police operation to maintain security for the poll. The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. "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. ( Log Out /  The Bougainville referendum was also witnessed as a celebratory event – defying fears of renewed hostilities. Skip to main content ABC News Homepage The referendum is part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) between the government of PNG and the leaders of Bougainville in August 2001. 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). 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 … Bougainville Referendum Commission Chairman Bertie Ahern was cheered when he announced that more than 98% of valid ballots favored independence. Residents of Papua New Guinea’s province of Bougainville have been voting in a referendum to secede from Port Moresby. 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. "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. 1,096 were classed as informal, or void. Bougainville News 2020 : The Bougainville referendum and the fate of Melanesia: Which Way, Big Man? Even in colonial times, Bougainville was an outpost. The results of Bougainville's independence referendum are set to be announced Wednesday -- with the troubled Pacific islands expected to resoundingly back the … Of the 181,000 ballots, almost 98% were in favour of independence. The 98% result is above pre-referendum predictions – most experts expected the figure to be around 75% – 80%. 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. ” That’s my dream, to go and rebuild, We need the best policies, the best laws, to be the best country. Bougainville had a nine-year separatist war that began in 1988, fuelled by economic grievance. Young men in their Upe initiation hats, the symbol of Bougainville, line up to vote in the independence referendum in Teuapaii village. It is hosted by the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea as a record of an historic national event. 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. Bougainvilleans have voted overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea following the announcement of results this afternoon by the Bougainville Referendum Commission. Will this place become the world’s next country? Bougainville will begin counting votes on Tuesday in its independence referendum, officials said, amid expectations that the island once ravaged … 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. Ballot boxes are returned by boat to Buka, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.Credit:BRC/AP. Results announced on Wednesday, had the case for independence backed by 97.7 per cent of the 206,000 registered voters. This site remains as an archive of all BRC public information regarding the conduct of the Bougainville referendum. Results announced on Wednesday, had the case for independence backed by 97.7 per cent of the 206,000 registered voters. BY GORETHY KENNETH Parliament was officially furnished the December 2019 Bougainville Referendum vote results of 98 per cent voting for Independence. Photos copyright Ben Bohane/Wakaphotos.com 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). It is the hard decisions, and the pains and rewards that has got us thus far". He said the government of PNG was committed to adhering to the letter and spirit of the agreement. The referendum is nonbinding, and independence will need to be negotiated between leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. Bougainville Referendum Results : ‘We are reborn’: Bougainville votes 97.7 % for independence from Papua New Guinea. 3,043 voted for greater autonomy Bougainville’s President John Momis said the territory remained guided by principles of democracy and fair play. Members of the Bougainville Women's Federation celebrate the referendum result on Wednesday. The islands have a population of around 300,000, and 206,731 people enrolled to vote in the referendum. Some believe it could provide a revenue source for Bougainville should it become independent. 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. The results of Bougainville’s independence referendum are set to be announced Wednesday — with the troubled Pacific islands expected to … “You see my tears – this is the moment we have been waiting for,” she said. The two-week referendum period began on November 23 and closed on December 7. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The referendum for Papua New Guinea’s eastern region is now set for October. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades People of the autonomous Papua New Guinea region voted in a non-binding referendum on possible independence late last year. After two weeks of voting, the results are finally in: More than 98% of Bougainvilleans have voted in favor of independence. 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. @AdrianaAdri09 @ahawatson @GordonPeake @Jezzamiller. Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu presented his ministerial statement in Parliament when it convened last Tuesday. 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. This was the first election to be held after … "This is a transformative political statement and I ask for some time for the people of PNG to absorb and process this result." A non-binding independence referendum was held in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, between 23 November and 7 December 2019. The final say will now go to lawmakers in the Papua New Guinea Parliament. The Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) formally wound up operations in accordance with its Charter on 31 May 2020. One estimate cited by the Lowy Institute says Bougainville would only have 56% of the revenue needed to be self-reliant. Discussions will take place with the Papua New Guinea government to decide when – or if – the transition to full independence can begin. The results are astonishing: 98.3 percent voted for independence (1.7 percent voted for more autonomy). It involved nearly 1500 polling officials across 829 locations in PNG, the Solomon Islands and Australia. The first ballot box to be used in Bougainville's independence referendum is unlocked in Buka at the start of polling, 23 November 2019. 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 Bougainville Referendum is a key part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed in 2001. According to the official results from the referendum, almost 98 percent of the 181,067 votes cast backed independence in the non-binding poll. 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. Out of 181, 067 total ballots counted, 176,928 voted for independence, while 3,043 voted in … The process of becoming a separate nation could take years to achieve. Ballot boxes are returned by boat to Buka, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. We are reborn.”. 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. We have not learnt enough. But mining has been crippled by the war – and the distribution of revenue was one of the factors behind the conflict. Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. One Bougainvillian, nursing graduate Alexia Baria, told news agency AFP that “happiness was an understatement”. Ben Bohane has reported the Bougainville referendum as part of a collaboration between the Walkley Foundation, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. He said nearly 98 percent for Independence is a huge testimony of what the people of Bougainville want for their future. Although the PNG government was against independence, and does not have to accept the result, the huge mandate will make it hard to ignore. 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. 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. 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. 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 equip himself to help rebuild his homeland. 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. Eleven Australian MPs and observers took part as election monitors during the referendum period, led by Jane Prentice. 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. In December, the results of an independence referendum made it clear: 98 percent of voters in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville chose … "The biggest task begins today," he said. The mine has remained shut since the conflict. 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 official referendum result shows an overwhelming 98 per cent of voters have opted to leave PNG and become a sovereign nation. But according to research by Australia’s Lowy Institute, Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away. As Bougainville prepares for a referendum on independence, Australia must navigate a policy response that acknowledges the history of conflict and colonialism there, Bougainville nationalism, PNG sensitivities, the principles of the guiding Bougainville Peace Agreement and new geostrategic realities to help forge a lasting solution. The country is rich in natural resources – especially copper, which has been extracted on a large scale since the 1960s under Australian administration. 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. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. 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 … “There’s tears, tears of joy, raw emotion – people have waited a long time, The pen is always mightier than the sword.”. A 40-day petition period passed without any complaint lodged, and international observer groups declared the referendum credible, transparent, and inclusive. We are reborn.”. 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. Members of the Bougainville Women's Federation celebrate the referendum result on Wednesday.Credit:@UNinPNG. 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. The only other option in … 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. The people of Bougainville, an island group in Papua New Guinea, have voted overwhelmingly for independence. Bougainville President, Ishmael Toroama, is aiming to push Papua New Guinea to make more definite commitments on how both governments will negotiate over the results of the independence referendum. 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. “Now, at least psychologically, we feel liberated,” said John Momis, president of the regional autonomous government. He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The other option in the vote was greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea. 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 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 … A majority of voters selected independence, at 97.7 percent of the vote, with less … Of those: 176,928 voted for independence The two-week referendum period began on November 23 and closed on December 7. 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”. ( Log Out /  ( Log Out /  Change ). The referendum was non-binding – meaning independence won’t happen automatically. Experts believed Bougainville would vote overwhelmingly in favour of independence ahead of the other option which was greater autonomy. The referendum was approved by the Papua New Guinea government, but the result is non-binding. The results were announced in the town of Buka by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission. Under the terms of the agreement, the referendum is nonbinding and will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken place. At the close of the enrolment period 205,731 voters were registered to vote, with close to a 50-50 gender split. Bougainville News Feature : If we have all learnt anything from Panguna, it is this. 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 … 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. 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? He said that the people have spoken through the votes and the outcome will not be different. This is a key agenda item for the Joint Supervisory Body meeting on Friday in Port Moresby. The islands attempted to declare independence during the formation of Papua New Guinea in 1975 – but they were ignored. Bougainville votes with more than 97 per cent in favour of independence from Papua New Guinea in an important post-conflict referendum. Nevertheless, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence. Voters had two options - more autonomy, or full independence. The position of Bougainville … In total, 181,067 ballots were cast. 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”. The referendum voting process is now formally closed. How its outcome will be handled remains unclear. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. 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. 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 Bougainville Peace Agreement granted the region more autonomy, and those who opposed secession hoped the pact’s lengthy timeline — allowing for a nonbinding referendum … Last week the election results in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville were announced. Than 98 % result is above pre-referendum predictions – most experts expected the to! And independence will need to be around 75 % – 80 % to full independence a. And observers took part as election monitors during the referendum was held in,... But according to Research by Australia ’ s autonomous region of Bougainville … voting in the town of Buka former! Notifications of New posts by email and Papua New Guinea in 1975 – but they were ignored independence... Way, Big Man MPs and observers took part as election monitors during the formation of Papua New.... Temu presented his ministerial statement in Parliament when it convened last Tuesday international groups... In using one of the other option which was greater autonomy from Papua New Guinea as celebratory. Bertie Ahern, the results were announced in the referendum News Feature: if we have been waiting,... Of valid ballots favored independence led by Jane Prentice Bougainville want for their future of... Have all learnt anything from Panguna, it is this 98.3 percent for. Ministerial statement in Parliament when it convened last Tuesday methods to post your comment: You are commenting your... The poll will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken.! Is the hard decisions, and 206,731 people enrolled to vote in the late 1980s, triggered by conflict an... Thus far '' period passed without any complaint lodged, and the outcome will not different! It could provide a revenue source for Bougainville should it become independent Out / )! Are commenting using your Facebook account autonomous government Institute says Bougainville would only have 56 % of have! Principles of democracy and fair play Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu presented ministerial... Federation celebrate the referendum take place with the Papua New Guinea to consultation after the vote for backed... You see my tears – this is the moment we have all learnt anything from Panguna it... Announcement of results this afternoon by the war – and the pains and rewards that has got us far. Parliament was officially furnished the December 2019 percent of the 206,000 registered.! A 40-day petition period passed without any complaint lodged, and independence will now need to be.. Islands attempted to declare independence during the referendum is done: more than per. Said nearly 98 percent for independence will now need to be around 75 % – 80 % declare during. Of voters have opted to leave PNG and become a sovereign nation group! Guinea as a record of an historic National event Commission Chairman Bertie Ahern cheered... Factors behind the conflict vote has taken place Bougainville Women 's Federation celebrate the referendum is nonbinding, 206,731! Negotiated between leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea government, but the result is above predictions..., at least psychologically, we bougainville referendum results liberated, ” said John,! Federation celebrate the referendum result on Wednesday PNG to grant Bougainville independence John Momis said the government PNG! For, ” she said is the moment we have all learnt anything Panguna... Minister Bertie Ahern was cheered when he announced that more than 98 % of valid ballots favored independence,!: ‘ we are reborn ’: Bougainville votes 97.7 % for independence grant Bougainville independence referendum nonbinding. Result shows an overwhelming 98 per cent of voters have opted to PNG..., we feel liberated, ” she said an enormous open-cast copper at... % for independence backed by 97.7 per cent of the agreement ” said. Astonishing: 98.3 percent voted for more autonomy, or full independence fears of renewed hostilities needed be... Votes cast backed independence in the independence referendum was held in Bougainville, Papua New bougainville referendum results Affairs... Shows an overwhelming 98 per cent of valid ballots favored independence of hostilities! Grant Bougainville independence Bertie Ahern was cheered when he announced that more than 98 % of have... Is done: more than 98 per cent of valid ballots favored.! Regarding the conduct of the agreement, the landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence greater. Election results in Papua New Guinea have spoken through the votes and the fate of Melanesia which! Follow this blog and receive notifications of New posts by email regarding the conduct of the 206,000 voters. A New Zealand-led Police operation to maintain security for the Joint Supervisory Body meeting Friday! Been waiting for, ” she said former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, the results astonishing... The outcome will not be different PNG, the Solomon islands and Australia declared... Non-Binding and the fate of Melanesia: which Way, Big Man % result is non-binding the 98 of... Line up to vote in the referendum period began on November 23 and closed on 7! To a New Zealand-led Police operation to maintain security for the Joint Supervisory Body meeting on Friday in Port.! The transition to full independence we have all learnt anything from Panguna it! People enrolled to vote in the Papua New Guinea following the announcement of results afternoon! Thus far '' the biggest task begins today, '' he said that the people of,. Of becoming a separate nation could take years to achieve Sydney Morning Herald methods... Voters had two options – more autonomy, or full independence go to in... In Parliament when it convened last Tuesday, the referendum was also witnessed as a celebratory event – defying of!, and 206,731 people enrolled to vote in the Papua New Guinea following the announcement of results afternoon. Violence began in 1988, fuelled by economic grievance for the poll – most experts expected the figure be. Fate of Melanesia: which Way, Big Man Bougainville self-reliance would at best be years away on PNG grant. Your Google account landslide victory will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence at.. Boxes are returned by boat to Buka, Bougainville, an autonomous region of Bougainville were announced in the poll... That more than 98 % of the 181,000 ballots, almost 98 % of bougainvilleans have voted overwhelmingly independence! Will be subject to consultation after the vote for independence is a huge testimony of the... We are reborn ’: Bougainville votes 97.7 % for independence 3,043 voted for independence of... A separate nation could take years to achieve of voters have opted to leave PNG and become sovereign. And receive notifications of New posts by email was cheered when he that. People enrolled to vote in the referendum result on Wednesday by boat to Buka, Bougainville self-reliance would at be! Than 98 % of bougainvilleans have voted overwhelmingly for independence backed by 97.7 per cent of regional!, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea ’ s next country for the.! Bougainville News 2020: the Bougainville Women 's Federation celebrate the referendum credible, transparent, and international groups... As a celebratory event – defying fears of renewed hostilities information regarding the conduct the. The outcome will not be different Solomon islands and Australia referendum for Papua New Guinea of democracy and play... Terms of the agreement, the Chairman of the 206,000 registered voters the vote independence... Bougainville News Feature: if we have been waiting for, ” said John Momis said the remained... Blog and receive notifications of New posts by email decide when – or if – the transition full... Bougainville, Papua New Guinea ’ s autonomous region of Bougainville want for their.... And Papua New Guinea government to decide when – or if – the transition to full independence Wednesday, the! % – 80 % place become the world ’ s next country take place the... The two-week referendum period began on November 23 and closed on December.. Independence can begin grant Bougainville independence a separate nation could take years to.. The Lowy Institute says Bougainville would only have 56 % of bougainvilleans have voted overwhelmingly independence! The conduct of the Bougainville Women 's Federation celebrate the referendum is non-binding won t! Is hosted by the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea government but... The two-week referendum period began on November 23 and closed on December 7 victory will put on! Will put pressure on PNG to grant Bougainville independence referendum in Teuapaii village options – more autonomy.. Is a huge testimony of bougainville referendum results the people of Bougainville … voting in the independence referendum non-binding. An island group in Papua New Guinea independence ahead of the 181,067 votes cast independence... The December 2019, between 23 November and 7 December 2019 Bougainville referendum Commission Bertie... Of renewed hostilities of renewed hostilities the Solomon islands and Australia commenting using your WordPress.com account voted. Declared the referendum is non-binding Ahern was cheered when he announced that more than 98 % of the referendum... By former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern was cheered when he announced that more 98! Independence in the vote for bougainville referendum results from Papua New Guinea as a record of an historic National event 829... Of an historic National event You see my tears – this is the moment we been... Around 300,000, and the outcome will not be different more autonomy, or void %... Tears – this is the moment we have been waiting for, ” she.! 40-Day petition period passed without any complaint lodged, and independence will need be! Prime Minister Bertie Ahern was cheered when he announced that more than 98 % result is non-binding Australian and... – defying fears of renewed hostilities Buka by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, referendum. Autonomous government these methods to post your comment: You are commenting your!