1 Jun 2005

Election manager in PNG's Bougainville says provincial election unstoppable now

6:52 pm on 1 June 2005

Election officials preparing to count ballots in the first elections for an autonomous government on the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville say nothing will stop the process now.

Ballot counting is expected to be completed for results for the president and 39 Assembly members to be known by midday Thursday.

It's the final phase in a process that's appeared shaky at times, such as when Australian police on Bougainville pulled out over a separate issue, followed by New Zealand police.

The election manager, Mathias Pihei, says nothing can now stop the election process from being completed.

Mr Pihei says he was concerned at the police withdrawal, but pleased to find out that Australian police left arrangements in place, including vehicles and funding for a helicopter.