Challenge on eligibility of non-Bougainvillean voters

10:10 am on 3 June 2019

A former leading public servant in Bougainville wants the courts to look at the eligibility rules for the referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

In October Bougainville is set to hold the vote on whether it wants greater autonomy or independence from Port Moresby.

Chris Siriosi is taking issue with the eligibility agreement reached by officials from both governments that would allow non-Bougainvilleans who have lived in Bougainville for at least six months to vote.

The former Bougainville chief secretary and now lawyer says these people lack the knowledge of Bougainville's aspirations which is needed to make an informed choice.

"The eligibility criteria is informed by the Bougainville Constitution. Bougainvilleans who are members of clans holding land in Bougainville; those non-Bougainvilleans who are married to Bougainvilleans and any child borne out of such mixed marriages, are eligible. That's the bottom line."

Chris Siriosi said he intended to seek clarity from the courts on the matter.

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