2 Jun 2010

Momis takes lead in drawn out Bougainville vote count

1:48 pm on 2 June 2010

The former governor of the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville has established a substantial lead in the race for the presidency of the autonmous government.

Counting of votes began nearly two weeks ago and so far, 21 seats have been declared.

Most have been won by newcomers, with just one of five cabinet ministers, the outgoing Primary Industries Minister, Dominic Itta, being re-elected so far.

Many of the incoming MPs are members of the New Bougainville Party of the former governor, John Momis.

In the presidential race, Mr Momis has an 8,000-vote lead over the current president, James Tanis, but thousands of votes are yet to be counted.

A former provincial premier, Leo Hannett, has returned to politics while another former premier, Dr Alexius Sarei, is also expected to win his seat.

Both are members of Mr Momis's party.

The Post Courier says vote counting is expected to be completed before the weekend.