16 May 2005

Bougainville leader says elections for autonomous government a dream come true

7:23 am on 16 May 2005

One of the Bougainvilleans who has helped usher in autonomy, presidential contender Joseph Kabui, says it's like a beautiful dream that the election is finally here.

The province goes to the polls from Friday this week with the Autonomous Bougainville Government to assume office in mid June.

It has taken seven years since the Lincoln Agreement, which ushered in a ceasefire in the province, to reach the point where Bougainvilleans could choose a government that will have wide powers of self rule.

Mr Kabui says to have reached this point brings enormous relief and a sense of achievement.

"I say it's a dream because it is hard to imagine that here we are. That's why I say it's almost a dream, but it's a beautiful dream and a dream that is now becoming a reality."