2 Jun 2010

Half of votes for PNG province of Bougainville elections counted

8:29 am on 2 June 2010

About half the votes have been counted in the elections for the autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville.

New Dawn FM radio in Buka reports that of the 20 seats declared so far in the 41-member legislature, 15 have been won by newcomers, with several cabinet ministers among those dumped by voters.

Those ousted include Michael Otoroa, who had been minister of education, a former health minister, Taihu Pais, and Jonathan Ngati, who was the minister for local level government in the outgoing administration.

Meanwhile, in the race for president, the former Bougainville governor and PNG ambassador to China, John Momis, has a significant lead over the incumbent, James Tanis.

However, Mr Tanis is slightly ahead in South Bougainville.

There are hopes all votes will be counted by the time the writs are returned on June the 9th.

The new assembly is due to sit for the first time on June the 15th.