A former Bougainville president, James Tanis, says he hopes whoever wins the just completed election will work co-operatively with the unsuccessful presidential candidates.
Two weeks of polling in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region ended a week ago and the vote count is to be complete at the end of this week.
Nine people stood for president and Mr Tanis, who was president from 2008 to 2010, says he is confident the incumbent John Momis will retain his seat.
But he says there is a lot of talent among the other candidates and with Bougainville preparing for the independence vote, he hopes their skills are harnessed.
"They need to employ those who contested in this election. On the peace process in Bougainville there are many responsibilities that other people can play, and also there will be some of us who have not contested in this election but will be making representations to whoever wins to keep all of us together in the same boat. We can not afford to have a split before the referendum."