29 Dec 2008

James Tanis elected President of Autonomous Bougainville Government

10:57 am on 29 December 2008

James Tanis has been elected President of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville.

The former separatist beat 13 other contenders for the post made vacant by the death of Joseph Kabui in June this year.

The Post Courier newspaper reports he was nearly two thousand votes ahead of the second highest polling candidate, former National Government Cabinet Minister, Sam Akoitai.

Mr Tanis finished third in the first election for President for 2005, behind Mr Kabui and former Governor John Momis.

Mr Akoitai says he is happy with the choice of Mr Tanis who he says was instrumental in the peace process.

He has urged the ABG under Mr Tanis's leadership to prioritise weapons disposal and the referendum which are key issues in the Bougainville peace agreement.

Meanwhile Mr Akoitai says many Bougainvilleans were denied their democratic rights in the poll because their names were not on the common roll.