15 Nov 2004

Bougainville's draft constitution clears another hurdle

8:00 pm on 15 November 2004

Autonomy for the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is a step closer after the Bougainville Constituent Assembly adopted joint recommendations developed in Madang and Port Moresby.

The Post Courier reports a total of 76 of the 96 BCA members voted to adopt the joint recommendations.

The Inter-Government Relations Minister Sir Peter Barter says the recommendations provided a way forward on most outstanding issues concerning the need for the Bougainville constitution to be consistent with the PNG Constitution.

Sir Peter says the Attorney-General had given his written endorsement for the draft Bougainville constitution.

He says the Bougainville Constituent Assembly also made a positive response to the National Government's concerns regarding the size and cost of the legislature to be set up.

The BCA decided to cut back on other proposals and agreed there should be 33 constituencies for the first general elections.

The drafters will finalise the text of the Bougainville constitution by incorporating the BCA's decisions in the fourth draft.

Sir Peter says this is expected to take a few days.