17 Jan 2005

PNG officials confident of Bougainville election by April

2:27 pm on 17 January 2005

Papua New Guinea officials say there are now moves to ensure that the election of an autonomous government on the island of Bougainville can be held in April.

This followed the handing over of the Bougainville constitution by Intergovernment relations minister, Sir Peter Barter, in a ceremony last Friday.

Bougainville is to establish an autonomous government as part of the peace process.

PNG's acting deputy secretary for foreign affairs, Tarcy Eri, says leaders are looking to have elections as early as April.

"Well the next process entails the electoral boundaries are drawn up and of course agreed to. This is going to be done by the national electoral commissioner, and his officers. And that will again be put to the people of Bougainville."

Tarcy Eri says the electoral roll needs updating and eligibility issues needs sorting out.

He adds the election needs to take place before the U.N. observer mission to Bougainville is due to expire in June.