Bougainville and PNG govts further define referendum choices

2:36 pm on 13 June 2019

The Bougainville and Papua New Guinea governments have further defined the two referendum choices of greater autonomy or independence from PNG.

A tentative date of June 15th 2019 has been set for a referendum on possible independence in the Autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville.

Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

In October Bougainville is to hold a vote in which its people will choose one of these two options.

The Bougainville government has released a statement saying an agreement was reached last month by President John Momis and the then PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

They agreed greater autonomy would be "a negotiated political settlement that provides for a form of autonomy with greater powers than those currently available under constitutional arrangements".

And independence means an "independent nation state with sovereign powers and laws, recognised under international law and by other sovereign states to be an independent state, separate from the State of Papua New Guinea".

Mr Momis said the definitions provide Bougainvilleans with greater clarity, but that more public awareness was now needed.

Last week Mr Momis met with the new Prime Minister, James Marape, and they agreed the Joint Post Referendum Transition Taskforce would decide how the chosen option would be implemented in practice.

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