16 Aug 2005

Former PNG Bougainville governor says death threat forced him to withdrew poll petition

8:35 am on 16 August 2005

The former Governor of the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, John Momis, says he dropped legal action over the results of the recent election of an autonomous government, partly because his life was threatened.

Mr Momis was one of the favourites to win the presidency in the elections in late May, but he got just half the votes of the victor, Joseph Kabui.

Mr Momis has repeated his earlier claim that there was widespread electoral fraud, but last month he withdrew an electoral petition, partly because of the death threats he had received.

"That was one of the motivations. The other was, of course, the fragile peace situation. I did not want to do anything that would lead to a confrontation especially since I knew that my opponents were hell bent on ensuring that I didn't get elected."

The international election monitoring team and UN officials declared the elections clean and fair.