24 Jan 2020

Bougainville sets up post-referendum forum to consult public

3:47 pm on 24 January 2020

The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has set up a 56-member team to gauge public views on issues concerning the region's post-referendum path.

Vote count by referendum officials.

Vote count by referendum officials. Photo: Bougainville Referendum Commission

An overwhelming majority of Bougainvilleans voted for independence from Papua New Guinea in the non-binding referendum held near the end of last year.

To come into effect the referendum result must be ratified by PNG's national Parliament.

That is to follow consultations between the PNG and autonomous Bougainville governments on how to implement the result.

First, the ABG, which is expected to soon morph into a transitional administration, has compiled a team to get public feedback on which issues should be addressed by the governments.

The team, or forum, is comprised of individuals from women groups, churches, youths, national and regional elected representatives.

Former combatants in the Bougainville crisis of the 1990s are also in the mix.

The composition of the 56-member forum was approved in a special Bougainville Executive Council held last week in Buka.

Meanwhile, the consultations between the two governments are expected to begin next month.

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